2016 U.S. Fellows

To learn more about the experiences of our 2016 U.S. Fellows click on the student name for a detailed profile and excerpts from their weekly reports. The capstone experience of the summer program was the presentation of a topical research poster at the 2nd Annual Smalley-Curl Institute Summer Research Colloquium. Special thanks to the 2016 SCI colloquium organizers and prize sponsors.

Ballouz PhotoRonald (Rony) Ballouz
University of Texas, Austin
Sophomore, Electrical Engineering
Host: Itoh Lab, Keio University
Research Project Abstract & Poster: Optimizing the Surface Planarization of Si/SiGe Virtual Substrates for Applications in Quantum ComputingAdobe_PDF_file_icon_24x24

“Nakatani RIES helped me decide that I want to continue to pursue international research opportunities, not only for the direct benefits they offer to my education and personal growth but also because they will help me later on when I apply for grad school.”

Garcia, Briana_ProfileBrianna Garcia
Rice University
Freshman, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
Host: Maruyama-Chiashi Lab, University of Tokyo
Research Project Abstract & Poster: Lithography-Free Fabrication of Transparent Conductive Single-Walled Carbon Nanotube Films Adobe_PDF_file_icon_24x24

“As a result of this program, I will most likely continue to engage in research. However, I am deciding whether I would like to continue with materials synthesis or more with application of these materials. Nakatani RIES has definitely increased my interest in future study abroad, especially in Asia. More than just traveling, I really enjoyed staying for an extended amount of time and actually working in a foreign environment. Interestingly enough, taking Japanese classes also refreshed my desire to improve my Spanish skills, so I will likely take classes at some point while at Rice. Struggling with language and the gratitude I felt when a Japanese person helped me out knowing English has made me want to pay it forward with speaking Spanish. Also as a result of this program, I think I will approach life differently in general. I already have caught myself being more tolerant or accepting of what people do; I think of what their background could be or where they could be coming from, that could possibly explain behavior that I’m not familiar with or wouldn’t expect.”

Daniel PhotoDaniel Gilmore
Purdue University
Sophomore, Computer Engineering & Mathematics
Host: Tonouchi Lab, Osaka University
Research Project Abstract & Poster: Characterization of Carbon Nanotubes by Parallel Plate Waveguide Terahertz Spectroscopy Adobe_PDF_file_icon_24x24

“Studying abroad has always been a goal of mine in college, and Japan has always been a place of special interest to me. I got interested in the unique culture because I am a 4th-generation (yonsei) Japanese-American, and I began studying the language last summer. Studying abroad in Japan, however, seemed like an impossible goal before I heard about the Nakatani RIES Fellowship. It almost seemed like it was made for me. Not only does it give me a chance to go to Japan, but it also lets me be involved with a hands-on project in my field of study. Like many college students, I’ve been searching for a career in my field of study, and I’d been seeking hands-on experience to get a sense of where my degree can take me and what excites me. The Nakatani RIES Fellowship gives me a chance to accomplish so much of what I want out of my college experience all in one summer.”

Mayssa Gregoire
St. Joseph’s College, New York
Freshman, Chemistry
Host: Kawata Lab, Osaka University
Research Project Abstract and Poster: 3D Microfabrication of Boron Nitride Nanotube/Polymer Composites by Two-Photon Polymerization Lithography Adobe_PDF_file_icon_24x24

“This was easily one of my best and most productive summers. I learned hands on about graduate student life while exploring a whole new culture and gaining a deeper understanding of the world. I matured and I’ve confirmed that I would like to go to graduate school. I also have a new interest in deeper understanding of Japanese culture and East Asian studies in general.”

Kaiser_HeadshotBenjamin Kaiser
Bethel University
Sophomore, Physics & Mathematics
Host: Endo Lab, Shinshu University
Research Project Abstract and Poster: Hydration Analysis of Carbon Nanotubes/Polyamide Nanocomposite Thin Films Adobe_PDF_file_icon_24x24

“Altogether, this summer was an outstanding opportunity of a lifetime. I was able to experience the incredible country of Japan and conduct meaningful research. This tied two of my passions into one amazing program! However, this program was so much more than that to me. I was able to experience a very international environment and learn as much about myself and my own culture as I did about others… Not only did I learn about myself, but I made some of the best friends I have ever had and I hope to remain in contact with them.”

Photo - Erica Miyake LinErica Lin
Brown University
Freshman, Applied Mathematics-Biology & East Asian Studies
Host: Awazu Lab, Osaka University
Research Project Abstract and Poster: Evaluation of Porphyrus Envelope as a Novel Drug Delivery System for Photodynamic Therapy of Prostate Cancer Adobe_PDF_file_icon_24x24

“Partnerships between teams in different countries would not be possible without people who understand the cultural backgrounds between each party in order to facilitate links between them. I hope to have gained the cultural competence and flexibility through Nakatani RIES to act as such a bridge.”

Haihao Liu
Rice University
Sophomore, Materials Science & NanoEngineering and Mathematics
Host: Saito Lab, Tohoku University
Research Project Abstract and Poster: Hidden Symmetries in One-Dimensional Photonic Crystals Adobe_PDF_file_icon_24x24
Undergraduate Poster Presentation Award: Altos Photonics – Light Conversion USA Award

“I have always been fascinated by and had a love for Japan. From the very first time I heard about NanoJapan, the predecessor to the Nakatani RIES Fellowship, I knew it was perfect for me. Of course, the primary focus is research, but such a huge part of the program is about immersing yourself in Japanese culture. Nakatani RIES also fits perfectly into my undergraduate academic goals. My recent studies and research have led me to become especially interested in materials with unconventional quantum properties. Furthermore, my main motivation in pursuing an additional Math degree is because it complements my interest in the theoretical side of this cutting-edge physics. This is why I’m most looking forward to working with Prof. Saito, as I will have the opportunity to see what doing research in theory is like.”

Brinda MalhotraBrinda Malhotra
Carnegie Mellon University
Sophomore, Mechanical Engineering
Host: Takeuchi Lab, Toyota Technological Institute
Research Project Abstract and Poster: The Effects of Ag on the Thermoelectric Properties of Higher Manganese Silicide Adobe_PDF_file_icon_24x24

“I have so many new people and gained connections that are far stronger and everlasting than I could have ever imagined. At first, I thought this experience would strictly be based around the research I conducted and the results I would gain from this research, but now I realize that the whole study abroad experience means so much more to me.”

Modi, Shweta_ProfileShweta Modi
Cornell University
Freshman, Biomedical Engineering
Host: Aoki Lab, Chiba University
Research Project Abstract and Poster: Applications of MoS2 Transistors to Nonvolatile Memory Adobe_PDF_file_icon_24x24

“More than ever before, graduate programs in the US consist of a high percentage of international students, so being able to work well with people who come from a variety of backgrounds is important. Employers are looking for employees who can collaborate with a diverse team to make a global impact. It is essential in today’s society to be able to think about the wider impact of one country’s actions on a global level. Having experience with working in a Japanese lab gives me the advantage of learning another language, which means that I can communicate effectively with more people.”

Rana, Chandni_ProfileChandni Rana
University of Florida
Sophomore, Biomedical Engineering
Tabata Lab, University of Tokyo
Research Project Abstract and Poster: Enhancing the Detection Sensitivity of Terahertz Spectroscopy for Biomolecules using Metasurfaces Adobe_PDF_file_icon_24x24
Undergraduate Poster Presentation Award: Advantest Award

“Doing research requires you to look beyond both scientific and geographic boundaries. Many of the world’s greatest accomplishments weren’t completed by a single person with expertise in a very specific area. All great breakthroughs required us to work together with scientists from diverse scientific backgrounds and nationalities.”

Swen, Donald_ProfileDonald Swen
Willamette University
Sophomore, Physics
Host: Sekitani Lab, Osaka University
Research Project Abstract and Poster: Amplifying Brain Waves to Control a Robot by Using Flexible Organic Transistor Circuits Adobe_PDF_file_icon_24x24

“If someone were to ask me what were the most important things I learned from Nakatani RIES, it would be my increased excitement for science, the path I want to take, and my immense appreciation for the world and people of different ethnic backgrounds. I realized I really love the limitless possibility of science.”

Tobah, Youssef_ProfileYoussef Tobah
University of Texas, Austin
Sophomore, Electrical & Computer Engineering
Host: Otsuji Lab, Tohoku University
Research Project Abstract and Poster: Terahertz Emission and Detection in Graphene Based Heterostructures Adobe_PDF_file_icon_24x24
Undergraduate Poster Presentation Award: Lake Shore Cryotronics Award

“Semiconductor physics is one topic I will need to study as an electrical engineering major, and my summer experience not only taught me about this subject, but let me do graduate level work in cutting edge experiments within the field. I had the opportunity to study topics such as graphene and terahertz spectroscopy in greater depth than most undergraduates would through conventional classroom studies. Additionally, I learned about the research process and how patient one must be when conducting experiments…”

Walling_Nickolas_PhotoNickolas Walling
Rice University
Sophomore, Mechanical Engineering and Comp. & Applied Math
Host: Kawano Lab, Tokyo Institute of Technology
Research Project Abstract and Poster: Terahertz Detection at Room Temperature Using Highly Aligned Single-Wall Carbon Nanotube Films Adobe_PDF_file_icon_24x24

“I chose to apply to this program because of the three main aspects of this program: language acquisition, cultural immersion, and engineering research. This fellowship grants me the opportunity to not only learn a new language, but also to immerse myself in a vastly different culture while performing research which will establish a strong foundation which I can use in future research. The future of research as a whole is becoming increasingly international, and this program allows for students from both America and Japan to gain early entry into this growing field of cross-continental cooperation. The Nakatani RIES Fellowship offers a once in a lifetime chance to experience professional, international research at a very early stage in our careers which gives us the opportunity to bring back a strong foundation for research and a perspective which can be gained only by working abroad.”

Yamada, Sasha_ProfileSasha Yamada
University of Hawaiʻi, Mānoa
Freshman, Electrical Engineering
Host: Iwasa Lab, University of Tokyo
Research Project Abstract and Poster: MoSe2 Thin-Film Growth by Molecular Beam Epitaxy and Electrical Double Layer Transistor Implementation Adobe_PDF_file_icon_24x24

“The Nakatani RIES Fellowship Program is a unique and formative experience for undergraduate students. Having such early exposure to advanced research allows students to build confidence in their abilities as scientists and engineers and start thinking about graduate school early. Being immersed in Japanese language and culture for 12 weeks is another distinctive feature of the program that makes the overall experience so impactful. You also have access to an extensive support network to ensure your success in the lab and in Japan in general. It encourages adventure and independence, and is overall the most incredible way to spend a summer.”

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