University News | August 13, 2018
The International School of Science Japan (ISSJ) Summer School was held at Hokkaido University over a five-day period from July 30th to August 3rd. Organized by the ISSJ Founding Project, thirty middle and high school students were selected from 9 different countries, and gathered at the university’s Global Research Center for Food & Medical Innovation (FMI) to carry out discussions and research to attempt to answer the question of “Who am I?,” this year’s overall research theme. At the end of the program, students presented their group research topics and findings in front of an audience.
The Summer School kicked off the first day by holding a general orientation and icebreaker activities in the morning, followed by a tour of the Hokkaido University Museum and campus with the help of student volunteers from Sapporo Kaisei Secondary School. That evening, students took part in a “Genghis Khan” welcome party, where they were able to enjoy Hokkaido’s famous culinary lamb dish. From the second to the fourth day, students participated in lectures and developed their own research topics in groups. During this time, students also prepared the scripts and slides they would use during their final presentations. Each student group presented their research findings on the last day of the summer program, with three awards being given under the categories of “Best Science,” “Best Teamwork,” and “Best Presentation.” While they may have been nervous at first, towards the end the students were relaxed, and able to enjoy a feeling of newfound self-confidence and accomplishment.
The ISSJ started in 2015 with the mission “to create a world where people can immerse in what they are passionate about and be respected.” The defining feature of the program is its ability to connect students from all over the world. Since many of the students have different cultural backgrounds, the final presentation topics tend to focus on how different societal problems can be overcome through the power of science, with past projects featuring themes such as lowering carbon dioxide levels and utilizing biofuels.
This was the first year the ISSJ Summer School was held at Hokkaido University. Participating students received research guidance and mentorship from Faculty of Advanced Life Science Professor Tokiyoshi Ayabe, Faculty of Science Professor Hiroshi Amituka, and Faculty of Veterinary Medicine Associate Professor Ryo Nakao and Specially Appointed Professor Ken Katakura.
Written by Katrina-Kay Alaimo, Ph.D.