Activity Report

Activity Report of Open Application Course vol.26

Outstanding Thai high school students experience leading-edge mechanical engineering
at Tohoku University

Report from the Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering,
Tohoku University School of Engineering

With the support of the Sakura Science Exchange Program, the Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering of the Tohoku University School of Engineering invited 10 students and one faculty member as the supervisor from four top high schools in Thailand for six days, from November 17 to November 22, 2019. With leading-edge mechanical engineering training as the main theme, we implemented a program wherein they were allowed to visit laboratories, including the Institute of Fluid Science, the Faculty of Science, and the Faculty of Agriculture, and to interact with Miyagi Prefecture Sendai Daisan High School, and were exposed to Japanese culture and our beautiful landscapes.

The main program, advanced engineering training, had three set themes: space exploration engineering, robotics, and micro electro mechanical systems (MEMS) as part of the world-class research conducted at the Tohoku University School of Engineering. After listening to a brief lecture by the relevant faculty on each training topic, the students were taken on a laboratory tour to get an actual, direct feel for the state-of-the-art research. The participating students had very high levels of interest and many already had a portion of their professional knowledge as a part of their high school activities, and these made for a lively Q&A session.

Advanced mechanical engineering training (Hayashibe lab, Department of Robotics)
Advanced mechanical engineering training (MEMS/cleanroom)

The high school students felt the power of engineering in their tour of large experimental equipment with low-turbulence wind tunnels and shockwave facilities at the Institute of Fluid Science were valuable experiences. Furthermore, the Thai students were surprised by the University's extensive educational, learning and research environment, by touring Innovation Plaza, which is a base for creative engineering training for first-year engineering students and offering everything from basic testing facilities to leading-edge digital modeling equipment, and the University House Aobayama, which is an international mixed student quarters that began accepting move-ins last year.

Fluid science laboratory tour

Furthermore, as an off-campus activity, we also held an interactive event with Miyagi Prefecture Sendai Daisan High School which have received the Super Science High School designation. It was the first opportunity for all the students who were invited to interact with Japanese high school students, but the students quickly broke it down and soon they were all interacting with each other. They listened to each other's research presentations and a held a friendly discussion of their high-school club activities and studies, which helped them to spend a very fulfilling time together, and made it a mutually memorable event.

Interactive event with Miyagi Prefecture Sendai Daisan High School

In the latter half of the program, the participants visited Matsushima, one of Japan's three landscapes, to have some contact with Japan's beautiful landscapes and traditional cultures, and experienced painting kokeshi. Not only that, the students were able to try a variety of Japanese foods during that period and were able greatly to experience Japanese culture.

The program this time was sponsored by the Department of Mechanical and Intelligent Engineering and the Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering of the School of Engineering that has an International Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Course (IMAC-U) that provides consistent English education to students from undergraduate to doctoral level programs. The program also included the aim of creating a reliable pipeline between Thai high schools in order for us continuously to receive outstanding students from Thailand. Not only did the survey conducted at the end of the program receive very high ratings for the program, some students expressed a willingness to study at the university. We believe it was a very meaningful program in which we were able to communicate the excellence of Tohoku University and other Japanese universities.