Program Overview

I communicated with all members in my host lab. They were all kind and helpful.

I communicated with all members in my host lab. They were all kind and helpful.

TOMODACHI-STEM @ Rice University is a five-week summer research internship program for up to 10 Japanese female undergraduate students majoring in science & engineering (S&E).  Held at Rice University in Houston, TX, the program will enable students to gain real world experience with S&E research, provide an introduction to U.S. higher education and provide opportunities for cultural engagement and collaboration with U.S. students. The program will serve as a catalyst for Japanese students interested in S&E study and research and engagement with the U.S. through international research collaborations. The objectives are to:

  • Nurture the next generation of female science and engineering students in Japan,
  • Cultivate an interest in science and engineering research and research collaborations
    between the U.S. and Japan,
  • Contribute to the development of a generation of internationally savvy female
    Japanese students who have a specific interest in and knowledge of the U.S., and
  • Educate students in culture, language, and technology, in order that they may be
    more effective when addressing global scientific problems.

The program will be held from February 26 – April 1, 2017 and will include:

  • Pre-Departure Webinar in January
  • Four-week science & engineering research internship at Rice University
    • Placement into a Rice University research lab within the School of Engineering or School of Natural Sciences
    • Submission of weekly research internship reports
    • Final capstone is the presentation of a research project poster
    • Submission of weekly written reports
  • One-week Science & Technology Policy, Leadership and Mentorship study tour in Washington, DC and Lehigh University (Pennsylvania)
Our first weekend in Houston, we got to attend the BBQ Cook-off at the Houston Rodeo.

Our first weekend in Houston, we got to attend the BBQ Cook-off at the Houston Rodeo.

While at Rice University, students will also participate cultural programming that may include seminars on topics such as:

  • English Language Conversation Classes (organized by Rice’s OISS)
  • Seminars on topics such as:
    • Cultural Adjustment While Abroad in the U.S.
    • Graduate Study and Research in Science & Engineering in the U.S.
    • U.S. – Japan Relationship through Baseball
    • Introduction to the Baker Institutes Science & Technology Policy Program and The Role of the “Civic Scientist” in the U.S.
  • Participation in cultural outings and events in and around the Houston area
  • Engagement with Rice University undergraduate students through participation in various campus events, clubs and activities.
  • Opportunity to attend the Japanese Language Table where you can meet Rice University students who are studying Japanese

Course Enrollment: Participants in the 2017 TOMODACHI STEM Program will attend Rice University as a Visiting Undergraduate Research Student as part of the Spring 2017 semester.  They will be enrolled in a 0 credit, ELEC 007 Visiting Research course and will receive a satisfactory/unsatisfactory grade. At the end of Rice’s spring semester, in late May, participants will be able request a Rice University transcript online from the Office of the Registrar via the National Student Clearinghouse that will certify their participation in the program.   Students should email program staff if they have questions or if any additional information regarding course enrollment is required by their home university in Japan.

Proof of Meningococcal Vaccination Record or Waiver (required if under the age of 22). Texas State Law requires all “entering students” to be vaccinated against bacterial meningitis if you are under the age of 22 as of the first day of classes. If you are 21 or younger as of the first day of the program at Rice University, you must show proof that you have received this vaccination within the past 5 years. More information will be shared with selected participants who are required to show proof of vaccination.

History: The program is modeled off of the 2016 TOMODACHI STEM @ Rice University Program.  Out of the 10 participants in this program, six were female undergraduate students.  The program’ impact can best be highlighted through the words of some of our 2016 TOMODACHI STEM participants.

  • “… the program changed my view towards the US graduate school and
    the importance of having PhD degree. I learned that PhD creates more possibilities
    on our careers as science and engineering students…” ~ Ms. Yoko Amazaki, Osaka University
  • “… here in my lab, I have daily discussion sessions with my professor and seniors
    who have helped me to understand difficult theories by showing their research
    results. So I could feel that research is not individual endeavor, but team effort.” ~
    Ms. Mikiko Iwagao, Tokyo University of Science
  • “Before this program, I thought that Japan is such a small country in the world of
    science. However, I met so many people who are interested in doing research in
    Japan, like an undergraduate aspiring to get Ph.D. in Japan, and a graduate who
    wants to work as a post doc in Japan. There are also many people who are interested in Japanese culture. I communicated with such people, hearing about the U.S. situation and telling about Japanese situation within my knowledge. I could
    somehow understand the importance of Japan in the scientific field and be an
    ambassador of my own country…” ~ Ms. Makiko Ogino, University of Tokyo
  • “I’m sure that TOMODACHI STEM program @ Rice University got many
    experiences and connections, which were broadened my horizons, and got some
    goals; to communicate in English fluently, to work as a researcher in foreign
    countries in the future, and to return to the U.S. for researching. I’m very glad to
    have participated in the program and met many great people. I’d like to keep in
    touch with them in the future, and never forget what I learned, felt and thought
    through the program.” ~ Ms. Yoko Tomo, Kyushu University
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