Young students gather for special summer program

University News | September 25, 2019

Participants and mentors of 2019 Manai Summer Program. Photo provided by ISSJ Inc.

Following last year, Hokkaido University hosted the Manai Summer Program from July 28th to August 3rd on Sapporo Campus. The program is run by the Manai Institute of Science and Technology (ISSJ Inc.) to provide young students with a unique learning experience in the sciences. Twenty-five students aged 12 to 16 from Japan, Vietnam, Mongolia, Philippines, Thailand, Kazakhstan, USA, Canada, China, and South Korea gathered at the university’s Global Research Center for Food and Medical Innovation to participate in a variety of workshops, projects, and social events.

Participants conducting an experiment which they designed with the help of mentors.

Masanori Yoshino, the Project Manager of the Center of Innovation (COI) which hosted the event, said, “This is a great opportunity to showcase the cutting-edge research and superb learning environment at Hokkaido University to young students. Moreover, providing advanced science education is key to making Japan and Hokkaido more attractive to scientists from all over the world.”

During the seven-day program, a lecture was given by Professor Tomomi Nemoto who introduced state-of-the-art microscopic technology, as well as a series of workshops by other faculty members. Dr. Parvin Begum who instructed one of the workshops discussed chemical features of living cells such as nucleic acids, membrane lipids, and their functions. The workshops also included hands-on components and active discussions.

Dr. Parvin Begum of Hokkaido University discussed chemical features of living cells such as nucleic acids and membrane lipids in her workshop.

In the afternoons, students were split into three groups and worked on assigned projects under the supervision of ISSJ mentors. Students from different part of the world worked together to design experiments, gather necessary materials and samples, and conduct experiments. They also prepared presentations for the last day which was open to all affiliates of the university.

Participants using smartphones as microscopes.

ISSJ’s program designer Gaku Nagashima explained, “Our mission is to create a world where people can freely pursue the things they truly love. In this summer program, we create a place where enthusiastic students from diverse backgrounds can meet top academics who are keen to foster future talents. I hope they will find life-time peers and mentors to pursue their passion and dreams together.”

Hokkaido University also offers other programs for young students such as the Academic Fantasista project which dispatches front-line scientists to local high schools.

Written by Naoki Namba