This summer, Risako traveled to Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, and worked in a lab studying mammalian reproduction. There, she helped to create a cell line with a point mutation in the TAF4B gene, which is commonly seen in primary ovarian insufficiency (POI) patients. She then traveled to Tokyo, Japan to work with the nonprofit Sky Labo, which works to address the gender imbalance in STEM fields in school and in the workforce. She joined the teaching staff in the three-day English program, through which middle and high school girls are taught the skills of design thinking. While Risako worked last year as a design coach, she said this experience was different in that she was able to take on more of a teaching role than her previous camp counselor-type position.
What inspired you to work abroad in China and Japan this summer?
I am interested in both medicine and education/nonprofit work, so it was truly amazing to be able to do both in one summer. I hope to someday be able to find a job where I can combine both interests.
What is one lesson you feel you learned after this experience?
I got to meet a wide range of people from different backgrounds and age groups. This has taught me that, in the end, it’s the human interactions that matter in our everyday lives.