Hokkaido University Graduate School of Life Science, Department of Life Science, Laboratory of Synthetic and Industrial Chemistry
Master’s Course, First Year
I am conducting research to develop new catalysts that have highly asymmetrical induction capabilities and use characteristics of transition metals, with the goal of making medical drug compounding (usually requiring long processes) more efficient.
●My Path for Taking the Course
Research is the True Substance of the Doctorate Course.
I Was Attracted into Enrolling by the Diverse Curriculum.
My alma mater, Kawagoe Girls’ High School, is designated a “Super Science High Schools”. After we performed rudimentary research activities on antibacterial actions of slime molds, my appetite for pharmaceutical science grew, and I took the Hokkaido University entrance examination for integrated science. I determined that I would go on to graduate school when I entered the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, where I would learn both biology and chemistry. That graduate school will end just when I finally master research skills in the 2-year Master’s Degree Program seems to be a waste; hence, I am now aim to advance to the Doctorate Course.
My motivation for entering this program is that I was drawn to the wide-ranging curriculum, using keywords such as “different fields,” “overseas,” and “companies.” My advisor Professor Shigeki Matsunaga also supported me with information regarding the compatibility of specialized research. In addition, my predecessors, senior course classmates, provided useful tips and words of support.
Due to My Chagrin at an International Conference, I Presented My Research Content in English.
In the Master’s Degree Program’s first year (July), I participated in my first international conference and made a poster presentation. Even though at that time, I had acquired a TOEIC score close to 800, in reality, I was almost completely unable to make conversation. Even though I had a rare opportunity to discuss my research with foreign researchers from the same field, I could provide only ineffectual, watered-down responses.
This experience was so unbearably regrettable that I started spending more time speaking English. Even in the interview for the Leading Program, I explained my own research content in English and insisted that I wanted to polish my language skills further. I want to speak more with various people without a hint of a language barrier. That feeling is growing stronger and stronger.
●Deeply Impressive Curriculum
Growing at the International Symposium.
Acquiring Broad Perspectives by Experiencing Foreign Cultures.
The International Symposium in November 2016 lasted three days during which I experienced all-English poster presentations and workshops. The previously described interview experience was helpful in listening to poster presentations. I was completely satisfied because, for the first time, I could get a true feel for explanation and Q&A sessions in English. I had an animated conversation with a Canadian researcher, and this built my confidence.
However, when I am in a situation where I can convey Japanese culture (including when I taught Japanese bathing customs to international students staying in the hotel room with me), I still feel that my language skills are insufficient. In a workshop, I also learned that international students did not understand how we use Post-it notes, and I realized that, without a doubt, we Japanese also constitute one of a wide range of cultures. During the precious three days, I was able to grow, reflect, and meet challenges.
●A Curriculum I am Enjoying
Fully Enjoy the Unknown.
Interdisciplinary Lab Visits
In Interdisciplinary Lab Visits, which I will soon experience, students themselves choose the laboratory to which they would like to belong. In my case, I dared to choose the Material Chemistry Laboratory in the Faculty of Science, Department of Chemistry, which is a world apart from creating catalysts (my specialized research). I will learn about proteins that control the transportation of substances inside cells, such as microtubules and kinesin. Even though the lab visit is short, lasting for a period of one month, I want to effectively use the limited time available by creating and preparing compounds for this research in advance so that I am able to add at least one more string to my bow.
Moreover, I am also looking forward to science and technology communication lessons and Language Training in New Zealand, which I will attend soon. I also want to have rich, varied experiences that will help me determine my future.