About Tokyo Tech

Interviews with 2014 Graduates

Graduation Interviews

Three graduating students were interviewed in advance of the bachelor's graduation ceremony for the 2014 academic year. They spoke about their studies and campus life at Tokyo Tech.

Hiroya Yamazaki

#01

Exploiting the thinking processes
achieved at the Department of Mathematics

Hiroya Yamazaki

Department of Mathematics,
School of Science

What prompted you to choose Tokyo Tech?

My brother studied at Tokyo Tech and used to tell me about its highly specialized education. So actually, my mind was already made up as early as the first grade of high school. With my heart set on going there throughout the three years of high school, I was over the moon to be finally admitted. What particularly appealed to me about Tokyo Tech was the wealth of science and technology courses you can take in the first year before starting the department curriculum-ideal for science-lovers like myself.

What was your most memorable experience during your time at Tokyo Tech?

In academic activities, I can recall a topology class in the Fall Semester of the 3rd year, in which the theorem that the Euler number of any polyhedron (Number of Vertices - Number of Edges + Number of Faces) is always 2 was proven through a generalization of the theorem. It is amazing to learn how basic theorems which even junior and high school students know can often be proven using a higher level of mathematics.

Outside academic activities, travelling to the U.S. to watch Major League Baseball games and going on trips with fellow Tokyo Tech students during extended vacations were also memorable. I got to see a Major League game for the first time, which was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, especially because I had the chance to see the Yankees' Derek Jeter play and get the autographs of my favorite players on the Oakland Athletics.

At a seminar in the Department of Mathematics

At a seminar in the Department of Mathematics

Exquisite seafood from a trip to Izu with classmates

Exquisite seafood from a trip to Izu with classmates

At Yankee Stadium in New York

At Yankee Stadium in New York

Can you tell us about your graduation research?

My graduation research topic involved studying Morse theory in topology and focusing on proving and applying the fundamental theorems of Morse theory. High school education teaches us that the curvature around the points where the derivative of a function equals 0 determines the shape of the graph. However, the fundamental theorems of Morse theory guarantee that, with "general figures" (e.g. spherical surface), the shape of a figure is determined by the curvature around the points where the derivative of the function equals 0. Geometry and topology are often easier to understand than other mathematical fields because they are based on visualization.

What are your post-graduation plans?

I have decided to join an electronics manufacturer after graduating instead of proceeding to graduate school. Although many of my peers have chosen the latter option, I felt I would rather start my career as an engineer at a company and learn various things through my work. Even though I may be unable to apply my mathematical knowledge, I will still be able to exploit the thinking processes and self-learning ability achieved at the Department of Mathematics. My ultimate goal is to become a high school mathematics teacher, but for now, I will gain some workforce experience by working as an engineer at a company.

Do you have any messages for younger students?

Tokyo Tech is a treasure trove for all who love math or science. It has a library bursting with books and offers hands-on lectures taught by world renowned professors. You can also make friends with wonderful classmates. Not capitalizing on these opportunities to make the most of your learning would be a real waste. Remember, university days are your one chance to enjoy free time in abundance! As well as academic activities, use it to engage in wherever your passion lies or have fun with friends, so you can look back after graduating and say you made the most of university life!

Wuning Li

#02

Implement your ideas
immediately

Wuning Li

Department of International
Development Engineering,
School of Engineering

What brought you to Japan and Tokyo Tech?

Watching a TV documentary about studying abroad as an elementary school student sparked a longing in me to study abroad and a new interest in Japan. As a result, I came to Japan and attended a multinational Japanese language school and learned the importance of global citizenship through exchanges with students from various countries.

When I was deciding which university to attend, my first choice was Tokyo Tech-the top science and technology university in Japan-reflecting my wish to pursue scientific and technological fields. Researching Tokyo Tech in more depth, I discovered the Department of International Development Engineering, a department unique to the Institute, which captured my imagination. On learning that this department had been established to develop globally competitive engineers and scientists, I decided to attend Tokyo Tech.

Li with a friend at the Japanese language school entrance ceremony

Li with a friend at the Japanese language school entrance ceremony

First experience of the sea, with friends from the Japanese language school

First experience of the sea, with friends from the Japanese language school

What was your most memorable experience during your time at Tokyo Tech?

Being a member of Tokyo Tech's Japanese Archery Club for three years was the most exciting. I made friends with many Japanese people and enjoyed time with them during training camps, tournaments and going out for fun. I'm very grateful to all of my friends and classmates.

Through club activities, I also learned the unique set of Japanese traditions as reflected in the strict practice of seniority and the system of "Report-Notice-Consult," in addition to the beautiful art of Japanese archery. My time in the club is an unforgettable memory and I will always treasure everything that I learned there.

Clad in the Japanese archery uniform for the first time

Clad in the Japanese archery uniform for the first time

Skiing with Archery Club friends

Skiing with Archery Club friends

Can you tell us about your graduation research?

My graduation thesis is entitled "Study of multilingual semi-machine translation based on Collective Intelligence." This research addresses the language barrier in text-based communication using the Internet, where an unspecified number of users of different nationalities gather. Focusing on the problem of recognition errors in machine translation, the project aims to develop an XML-based auto translation unit incorporating grammatical and semantic information and configure it as part of a multilingual information system.

What are your post-graduation plans?

I will continue on to graduate school and then find work as an engineer in Japan. However, I wish to actively seek opportunities to work globally while maintaining a base in Japan, which will require entering a master's program at Tokyo Tech to deepen and fine-tune my knowledge and skills.

When I was in my 3rd year, I participated in fieldwork held in the Philippines. Through this experience, I was able to understand that true knowledge is gained when theory and practice are combined. This was very stimulating. I would like to use Tokyo Tech's exchange student program during my master's program to study in Western countries as well.

Do you have any messages for younger students?

Implement your ideas immediately. It may seem challenging or laborious, but your curiosity is worth acting on. Even though you may fail, failure helps you learn and grow. Extracurricular activities, study abroad, professional learning, internships and even part-time work-whatever your interest, Tokyo Tech has the right environment to support you. The moment you start putting things in action, your world starts to open up.

Nao Yamamoto

#03

One encounter spawns
another chance

Nao Yamamoto

Department of Biotechnology,
School of Bioscience
and Biotechnology

What prompted you to choose Tokyo Tech?

Taking biology classes in junior high school nurtured my interest in biology. I was influenced by a TV program that featured forensic scientists, and this swayed me to opt for a scientific course. After attending several open campus tours, I selected Tokyo Tech as one of the candidates. I was impressed by its vast campus and sophisticated research facilities. Since Tokyo Tech was also the first university I visited during my campus tours, I can't help but think that I was meant to attend the Institute.

What was your most memorable experience during your time at Tokyo Tech?

The experience of participating in diverse programs, including those outside my specialized field. I made the most of these opportunities, such as participating in student projects at the Center for Liberal Arts and short study-abroad programs in the U.K. and the U.S. The most memorable among these, however, was BIOMOD (International Bio-Molecular Design Competition). I participated in the competition in my 3rd year, and it gave me the chance to present my research at Harvard University.

I was also a member of the International Student Association, which gave me the opportunity to interact with students from different countries and cultures. This allowed me to broaden my horizons. I also remember the hectic days of conducting experiments and preparing reports after joining a lab. I had never experienced anything like that before.

During a Boeing company tour

During a Boeing company tour

BIOMOD

BIOMOD

With lab members

With lab members

Can you tell us about your graduation research?

The recent advent and spread of multidrug-resistant bacteria have become a global issue, requiring the urgent development of new antibiotics. My research focused on an antibacterial system called TA (Toxin-Antitoxin) genes, which, despite going somewhat under the radar to date, is capable of responding to specific genes common to numerous bacteria, including Escherichia coli. My future research also focuses on antibiotics based on soil bacteria.

What are your post-graduation plans?

I will advance to a master's program at Tokyo Tech to continue my current research. I also plan to study abroad at the University of California, Berkeley to learn the latest technologies related to microbial genome analysis. My goal once back in Japan is to use what I learned while studying abroad to discover new approaches for my current research and publish the results in my master's thesis and other papers.

Do you have any messages for younger students?

Tokyo Tech provides many opportunities to take up challenges. Always keep your antenna tuned and actively get involved in your areas of interest. One encounter spawns another chance, leading you to higher and wider stages of learning.

Our heartfelt congratulations to Yamazaki, Li, Yamamoto and many other students graduating from Tokyo Tech this spring! We are looking forward to seeing you succeed on the global stage, utilizing the skills you developed at Tokyo Tech.

Yamazaki, Li, Yamamoto