A continuation from the previous issue of our special edition.
This is a continuation of our report regarding the event titled “Let’s Talk About the Future of Science Girls” that took place at “Pure Sogo,” the Yamanashi Prefecture Gender Equality Promotion Center on Saturday, February 14, 2015.
In this edition, we will introduce the 3 presentations given after the keynote lecture, each by actual female students of our university studying a different field. Since University of Yamanashi is the only university in the prefecture that has a Faculty of Engineering, we were prompted think “who else can present the wonders of science?!” and felt it our responsibility to make a positive appeal about the field of science (ha ha ah). . The overall event took place with the cooperation by Pure Sogo.
The first to go was M, a first year student of the Department of Local Produce and Food Sciences, Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences. She talked to us about how she underwent a change of heart concerning her conception of “science courses” throughout her junior highschool/highschool years, up until her decision to pursue a college education. Her decision to move on to the Department of Local Produce and Food Sciences, Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences was made after much thought was placed on what she wanted to do and what exactly she wanted to study. She said that it was all about trial and error before she came to the conclusion that she wanted to pursue her studies in the Department of Local Produce and Food Sciences to learn more about food and nutritional science. So what exactly does she do in this department? She mentioned that they have a practical exercise where they bake some bread in class. When I heard about this, my initial thought was “Oh, how yummy!”, but of course, we have to remember that this is part of a university curriculum. The main purpose for this exercise is to understand the effect of yeast. Why are breads soft and spongy? How do they become so soft? What kind of an effect does yeast have? These are some of the research subjects of this bread baking exercise. Isn’t it interesting to know that there is a scientific approach in baking a bread? In this faculty, they also do chemical experiments and have practical exercises involving grape cultivation. As her school year advances, her studies will become more and more specialized into a full-scale research study of food science, nutritional science, and wine science. She says that she looks forward to studying specialized fields.
The next presentation was given by A, a second year student of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Engineering. She explained to us that in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, not only do they study about bridges, roads, and tunnels, but also assay water quality and environmental conservation, as well as environmental-friendly energy. They also learn about architectural drafting, and she introduced to us the various methods of drafting :a graphic method called “perspective drawing,” and “axonometric projection” which is often used in video games we might be familiar with.. She also showed us photographs of some of her favorite buildings in the world that are thought to be grandiose. She explained to us with clarity how the research study of this department has a direct link to our everyday life by giving us specific examples such as a bridge that runs high up in a place even higher than the tip of the Tokyo Tower, a bridge that would defy the very concept of what a bridge is, and the Metropolitan Area Outer Underground Discharge Channel of the Saitama prefecture (commonly known as “the underground temple”).
The third and last presentation was given by W, from the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, and K from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, both of the Faculty of Engineering. The two girls belong to the University of Yamanashi Formula Club and there, they build and run cars! In the beginning of their presentation, they showed us a promotional video of their handmade car. Hey, isn’t that the car that’s exhibited in building A2 of the Faculty of Engineering? Wow! It’s actually running! It’s not just an exhibition! It actually runs! Cool!After we calmed ourselves down after the initial excitement and admiration with their hand-made car, each of the girls proceeded to introduce what they are studying in their departments.
K explained to us that in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, she learned how to design machines using drafting software called CAD, and also showed us a photograph of “a chain that can never be undone,” which she made herself by adeptly handling machine tools in a metalwork training course. She surprised us by showing us the actual chain, which in fact she brought along to the presentation. (Oh, I just love metalwork♪)
W mentioned that in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, they had a class where the students were divided into different teams and each team was given an assignment to create various systems. At the end, the teams would introduce to each other what kind of systems they came up with. The assignment given to W’s team was to “create a thermal management system to cultivate plants.” W told us that she and her team developed a system using the thermal center to deal with the difference of room temperature during the daytime and at night. She also mentioned how interesting it was to see and hear about the diverse systems that the other teams developed upon the same assignment. She also informed us that although the number of female students in this department is small, by working together in such assignments, regardless of their gender, the students learn how to band together and get along. She says that she thoroughly enjoys her campus life.
While socializing with one another, A
showed the model of the bridge she had made (well…to be honest, it was her classmate who in fact made the model ←a confession we disclosed on her behalf) and a poster report she had prepared concerning landscapes. K showed the chain mentioned in her presentation and a top she had welded in her metalwork practice, along with an example of a CAD drafting. The junior highschool girls appeared to be surprised to know that even university students created models and components.
“I like science. But my test scores aren’t so good”.
“I was like that too. But each time I had trouble I went over to see my science or math teacher to get some advice (M)”
“I have an impression that researchers can’t get married!”
“Oh no! That’s not true! I’m married and even have kids (Mrs. Yamashita)”
“I really like cars♪”
“You’ll like it even more once you get your driver’s license (w)”
“I didn’t know about civil engineering but now I’m curious about it. It looks like a lot of fun!”
“I’m so happy to hear that! I’m glad I took the time to come today. Hearing how our presentations got you interested made it all worthwhile (A)”
As for the parents, they were having a deep(?) conversation with the office head, Ms. Kazama about child care, future academic path, education, and of course, simple small talk.
Perhaps it was hard to tell what the event was all about just by looking at the title of the event or reading the leaflets (Sorry!). And next time, we will be more careful of when we hold the event^^;. (Definitely not on Valentine’s Day!) For those of you who participated and to those who cooperated with us, thank you so very much! We hope to continue generating the “fascination of the science studies” in various forms. We thank you in advance for your support!
And to N, who was here from “Denpa☆Rikokyoku” , the Yamanashi Campus Area Broadcasting Service, to cover our story and record the event, thank you for your hard work. When the program is ready for broadcast, please let us know♪