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Living & Learning: Japanese students overseas / AND is in our DNA

Courtesy of Izuho Suzuki

Izuho Suzuki, left, with friends of the Peer Advising Group

By Izuho Suzuki (Northwestern University) / Special to The Japan News This is one of the slogans at Northwestern University. Academic excellence AND Big Ten athletics, vibrant college town AND world-class city, leading-edge arts AND cutting-edge science, and so on. After seeing this slogan on the admissions page, I knew it was the right school for me. I’ve always had an interest in computer science and I came to Northwestern planning to be a computer science major, but I also had interest in other areas such as education. Coming to Northwestern has provided me with the opportunity to explore my “computer science AND ...”

As students in the McCormick School of Engineering, we are told daily that we are whole-brain engineers. Meaning we use both our analytical and mathematical left brain and our creative and artistic right brain. I experienced this through the design class that I was enrolled in last quarter called “Design, Thinking, and Communications.” This was a group-project-based class just for engineering students. Each group had a client and we used our right brain to solve the client’s problem creatively and our left brain to do the calculations, in the end creating a prototype. This class made me realize the importance of both critical and divergent thinking.

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Engineering tends to have more rigid coursework than other majors and students tend to lose the social aspect of college life. But at Northwestern, the university aids us in that aspect by grouping engineering freshmen and upperclassmen together in a small group (called a Peer Advising Group). Meeting once every two weeks, we catch up on how the others are doing and the upperclassmen provide us with advice both academically and socially. This group has been a huge support for me the past two quarters. I had friends I could talk to and someone who wasn’t a professor to discuss my struggles with.

With the academic opportunity and the comfortable community at Northwestern, I believe I chose the right school. I hope to further deepen my computer science knowledge and become a “whole-brain engineer.”

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Northwestern University

Founded in 1851, the private university based in Evanston, Ill., is known for its research strength in fields such as neuroscience and nanotechnology. Notable alumni include novelist Saul Bellow, a winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature.

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