TOMODACHI-STEM Women’s Leadership and Research Program Final Presentation
On March 27, TOMODACHI-STEM Women’s Leadership and Research Program’s female university students majoring in Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) at Japanese universities presented the results of a five-week research internship program. Nine of the ten students, who completed the program in the U.S. during February and March, visited Dow Chemical Japan K.K., which supports the program. The presentations were viewed by 64 employees in person and online, including Patrick McLeod, President of Dow Chemical Japan K.K.
The presentation began with self-introductions by the students, followed by their impressions from their visit to an ethylene production plant in Texas as part of their activities during their stay in the U.S., where they toured a polyethylene plant and pack studio, “Besides the product aspect, the recycling of materials used for testing and the transition from eco-friendly to eco-sustainable The students also presented their impressions of the “consideration of global environmental preservation and social contribution,” which they felt during their visit to the polyethylene plant and the Pack Studio in Texas. The students also shared their realization that “we believe that collaboration between researchers and developers is key in product development and manufacturing and that we put a lot of effort into this aspect” and “we believe that collaboration between researchers and developers is key in product development and manufacturing and that we put a lot of effort into this aspect.
One of the students explained specific research themes and his experiences, concluding various discussions in his laboratory life in the United States. She mentioned the abundance of communication both inside and outside of the laboratory. There were many casual lunch meetings with professors and mentors about the research reporting. Also, there were casual gatherings on Friday nights where people in the same field gathered to discuss their research. From casual conversations, new tips and ideas for collaboration were created. Students also felt a love for the community to which they belonged. For example, in Houston, people gathered at rodeo events outside the university and felt a sense of togetherness.
Regarding their future careers, the students shared their feelings through discussions during their stay in the U.S. In the U.S., many post-doctoral fellows were married and raising children. Although there seemed to be a good understanding of child-rearing among those around them, there were also areas where support was insufficient, and the need for support seemed to have been discussed at the meeting. As for the education system, in the U.S., universities and research laboratories provide financial support, and there are ample opportunities to experience what kind of research each of us would like to do through laboratory rotations.
The students reiterated their gratitude for the program outcomes, which allowed them to gain great insight during their five-week stay in the U.S. They also expressed how they will use this learning in the future. They also expressed gratitude to the program for providing them with many opportunities to experience and learn from the U.S. program, which was only about a month long. The program seemed to have served as an opportunity for them to envision their future careers.
They learned about support for women in the research community through comparisons between Japan and the U.S. They wanted to learn about, use, and improve the many supports available to women with various life events so they do not give up on their research careers.
The session concluded with a question-and-answer session for students from employees. In addition, a Dow Chemical’s Employee Resource Group (ERG Group) member explained the company’s efforts to promote diversity. Students had a valuable opportunity to learn about efforts to create an inclusive society and hear real stories from seniors in the workplace.