Messages from Scholarship Students

Tomohito Okuda

Ito Foundation U.S.A.-FUTI Scholarship (2020)

MIT Sloan School of Management
MBA Candidate 2022
Harvard University Kennedy School
MPA/ID Candidate 2022

Despite the unprecedented challenges posed by the pandemic, MIT bravely began providing the fall semester in a hybrid model in September. Its business school, MIT Sloan School of Management, is known for the intimate communications among students. Acknowledging the risk and having a strong desire to have in-person communications, over 90% of the students came to Boston from all over the world, attending the in-person classes. The school’s commitment is extraordinary. In addition to the requirements to wear masks and keeping everyone 6 feet apart, everyone must take the COVID-19 test twice a week, and the flow of people in the building is strictly controlled. I have been in Boston since last year, but my experience has completely changed. There have been increases in unexpected expenses such as getting food delivery and electronic devices to attend remote classes, but I can continue my study thanks to FUTI’s support.

Lili YU

FUTI Global Leadership Program (2020)

Stanford University Global Energy Dialogues [Online]
MIT International Colloquia on Thermal Innovation [Online]

Dep’t of Mechanical Engineering
Doctoral Student 3rd year

This year has been engraved on my mind forever because of COVID-19. Everything in my daily life and doctoral study at UTokyo changed suddenly and dramatically in late January. However, the scholarship from Friends of UTokyo, Inc. really helped me through the tough period by supporting me with access to better electronic devices and internet as well as tuition payment to join online lectures at U.S. universities.

My research is mainly about the mass and heat transfer in HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems for Net-Zero-Energy buildings aiming to attain energy saving and CO2 emission reduction in the future. My original plan was to attend in person the summer course at Stanford University, but I had to change my plan to take online courses at Stanford and MIT. Fortunately, it turned out to be a more productive and efficient way to broaden my research horizons since the courses helped me to communicate with truly leading scientists in my research field without the limit of space and time.

Taro Kunimitsu

Ito Foundation U.S.A.-FUTI Scholarship (2020)

University of Chicago
Harris School of Public Policy

At the University of Chicago, most activities have stayed online throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, but we are now gradually returning to in-person activities. The university has provided abundant support to keep the community connected, and with the additional opportunities that would have been difficult before, such as online seminars from remote locations, I feel that my current experience is by no means inferior to the in-person version before the pandemic. Under these circumstances, I have been able to touch on many policy areas of interest, learning about the regional innovation strategies of Chicago on one day, modeling the economics of Wyoming oil wells on another, and developing machine learning libraries for energy consumption prediction in between. I am truly grateful for FUTI’s support for everything that I have been able to learn and experience here.

Note: Many scholarship winners selected in March were forced to temporarily halt or give up the study plans, due to the cancellation of short-time programs for foreign students, the online shift of graduate school programs, etc., which were caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Since US applicants and UTokyo undergraduates were most severely affected, these three essays were written by graduate or post-graduate students.

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