In ‘Conahana-san of the Month’, we discuss the experiences of senior researchers who have successfully managed to balance their research/work with life events such as childbirth, child care and family care.
◎Introduction of Professor MAO Xiaoyang
Organizations: Director of the Center for International Education and Exchange, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Graduate School of Medicine and Engineering Science (Division of Engineering), University of Yamanashi.
Specialty: Media Information Science / Database (computer graphics, visualization information science)
This is part 2 of the interview with Professor Mao who engages in the research of computer graphics and media information science at the Faculty of Engineering. Her husband is also a professor, and in the same field! I couldn’t help asking if there would be fights between them in such a condition, but she answered that the condition made them understand and help each other more easily!
●After your childbirth you continued your research along with childcare, right?
That’s right. We must attend the same academic meeting, but when our children were small, either one of
us, who was to make a presentation would participate in the meeting, and the other would be at home with the children. But once when both of us needed to attend an overseas meeting, we couldn’t find anyone to take care of our children for us. We didn’t know what to do until just before our departure and eventually we took them with us. Unexpectedly, they were quiet and good while going out with us! So we thought this was it! (lol) Since then we would take our children to academic meetings, and sometimes took advantage of nursery services provided by the society.
● It’s not usual for a family to attend an academic meeting together. It seems exciting!
I think our children had a good experience too. When they were going to the nursery, they would always be picked up last. Sometimes I had to be late further, and the nursery manager did a special favor for us by taking care of them at her home. So they used to ask me “Why do you always come last?”, “Why do you have to work?” I had to make a special effort to spend time with them, and the meals I prepared had to be much contributing to the frozen-food industry (lol), but either of us never failed to participate in their school events such as a class observation day. Speaking of those days, I remember someday when I was stuck inside my laboratory to write a paper, my husband brought supper for me bringing children with him, saying “This is logistics support”. Inside the package there was a letter from children saying “Stick to it!” (lol) Then, when they were three-graders or so, they became to express that their mother with work is “cool”. I appreciate my children, too, who grew up strong accepting their environment.
●You have a wonderful family who understand your work ♪ Now your children have become university students.
Yes. The both of them left home to spend their university lives by themselves. They didn’t welcome my call when they started to live by themselves, but recently, they call me once in a while, after I became too busy to call them (lol). Now we are like friends who can give advice to each other, rather than being parents and children.
● Oh, yes, you must have been all the more busy since you assumed the position of the director of the Center for International Education and Exchange this spring.
Yes. I owe a lot to the teachers of my department who always helped me when my children were small, and I always hoped to return the favor when my child rearing was finished. I take jobs which can be shared in the department as much as possible, but before I complete the repayment for their help, I became involved more with the International Exchange Center (^^;) From October this year, a global co-creation study room (G-philos) will also be opened, and we are struggling for the center to be more fulfilling.
Introduction of G-philos, a global co-creation study room.
A place to cultivate international communication, where students can learn from one another through cross-cultural understanding and language learning.
• Place: 2F, Y-building (Research Center building ward), and 2F of B1-building (Room B1-221)
• Open hours: 9:00-19:20 (Y building:~17:00) from Monday to Friday. –
• The place is open to all students of this university during open hours.
● Some students who wish to master English conversation were very happy about G-philos, with its easy atmosphere, she said that her pronunciation problems had been advised and corrected there.
Maybe it hasn’t yet been recognized well, and the users are not many. It’s a pity.
I hope that more students will make use of that place!!
● Lastly, will you give a message for students?
In the past several years I’ve seen many women with jobs and newborn babies who said to me “It would be better if I quit this hard job”, but I feel something is wrong about that. Of course it is good if they positively choose options according to their lifestyles, but if they quit a job just because it is “hard”, it is just an “easy escape”. What about men who cannot make that kind of “escape”? So I hope that wives and husbands share “difficulty” and “joy” to make them both happy.
Her wonderful personality, interesting talk, and charming smile♪ All of them made a good interview! Thank you very much!!
● Prof. Mao, you are very busy but do you have a favorite pursuit?
I do gardening a little at home. I grow roses of various kinds, and some fruits and vegetables.
● Feeling the earth is very refreshing!
Yes! Now I remember, my husband call it “earthing”.（^0^）