June Edition,2013 (Part 1)
In ‘Conahana-san of the Month’, we introduce experiences of senior female researchers who have been successfully managed their work-life balance between research/work and life events such as childbirth, child care and family care.
I’d wanted to interview this person since we started this interview series. It’s Ms. Mina Hayakawa, graduate of the Universityof Yamanashiand TV anchor.
To explain the reason why I set a target on her, let’s see the statistics below first.
This graph shows female population ratio by department of universities.
Among all study fields, engineering has the lowest ratio of females.. Further more, this graph is by detailed major within the engineering department only.
Mechanical engineering has the lowest female ratio.
It’s very shocking to me because I’m a graduate from the mechanical engineering department of another university.
By the way, let’s see the latest data of the Mechanical Engineering major of this university…
Female students count 5% of FY2012 freshmen!
And 10% of FY2013 freshmen!
It’s above the national average♪ Go, Yamanashi! (^^)
(It’s 12% for the entire engineering faculty this fiscal year!)
I just wonder… why is mechanical engineering the least popular amongst women??
Don’t you feel your heart pounding to see melting iron in casting… ?
Don’t you feel excited to smell lubrication oil on lathes… ?
Don’t you fall in love with a mechanical drawing by CAD…?
Don’t you?… No?
Does gender matter by any chance?
I believe that most girls are just not aware of this kind of excitement.
How can I attract more females to engineering?
One of my ideas was to introduce an active graduate doing a mechanical engineering major.
Now, please welcome Ms. Mina Hayakawa（^^）
Having graduated from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, the Faculty of Engineering, the University of Yamanashi in 2011, entered NHK Kofu Branch Office as a TV anchor. Mainly in charge of a news program titled “Good Morning Yamanashi (Ohayo Yamanashi).” She also serves as a reporter in a life-information program “Kai-navi” and a news & information program “All from Yamanashi (Marugoto Yamanashi)” and covers the football team, Ventforet Kofu, for those progams.
● The venue of this interview was Heart Plaza Gallery at NHK Kofu.
Nice to meet you! It’s my first time here and I was just looking around.
Welcome (^^) It’s been only about a year since the entire renewal of this facility. Look, this sofa is in the shape of grapes!
● Oh, and these grapes are in the color of our university! Let’s sit down here and start the interview. The first question is, what brought you to major in science?
Since I was a child, my dream jobs were to be a TV anchor or science researcher. So naturally I selected a science major in university.
● “TV anchor” and “researcher” do not seem to have much in common.
That’s right. I wanted to become a TV anchor just like most other girls dream about being on TV. I also wanted to become a researcher because of my father, who was a researcher in engineering.
I belonged to the SSH (SuperScienceHigh School) course in high school and enjoyed learning science through its curriculum. Visits to institutions such as JAXA in Tsukuba and KAMIOKANDE inGifualso gave me a simple curiosity to learn more about science. Through those classes and experiences, I became interested in developing medical equipment. Then I found out about Prof. Yoshihisa Minakuchi who was studying medical equipment in the Faculty of Engineering in theUniversityofYamanashiand decided to apply to the Department of Mechanical Engineering. My focus and enthusiasm were to study medical equipment but actually I wasn’t that great at math and physics.
● How many female students were there in your mechanical engineering class?
I was one of three females out of 60 students.
● That’s 5%! That’s higher than the national average. How did you like the atmosphere?
We just spent an ordinary campus life together; guys didn’t treat us differently or differentially. Both male students and teachers treated us rather nicely (lol)
● It’s good that you didn’t have any problems♪
There were no problems… but I just remembered that we once had a set of three questions to solve in class one day. Unluckily the three of us were assigned to work on the problems in front of the class (lol)
● Did you join any club activity?
I was the manager of the ice hockey team. It was hard work but I enjoyed it.
Practices were always early in the morning or late at night due to the limited availability of skating links. The team was strong and we shared the greatest sense of fulfillment when we won.
● I bet that a club activity is one of the key elements of campus life. Now, what was the theme of your graduation research?
I entered the Prof. Minakuchi’s research team as I had hoped since freshman year. My research theme was “3D biological model adaptive analysis of foot joints with osteoporosis.”
● What kind of options did you have for your future career at that time?
I had an option of going to graduate school and becoming a researcher but a bad experience in a manufacturing practice class made me start to worry about working as a mechanical engineering researcher.
What problem did she have and how did it impact to her career path decision?!
In the latter part, I heard more about her job. Stay tuned♪