Yoriko Yamamura is a first year PhD student at OIST. She spent most of her childhood in Tokyo, but she also lived in Indonesia, Switzerland, Kobe, and Nara. “Okinawa might be my favorite place so far,” she says, “and the environment at OIST contributes to that a lot!”
Yoriko only recently discovered her interest in science. She was two years into majoring in Arabic Studies at her university when she worried about losing interest in a narrowly focused subject. Yoriko switched to a broader, liberal arts based major where she could continue to explore her options. “I like studying subjects where I can find an answer based on evidence,” she says, explaining that she ended up focusing on cognitive psychology.
Yoriko says that she has already chosen the lab she would like to host her thesis, but that she is using her rotations to broaden her skills. “I feel like I lack some of the math and physics that many of my peers have,” she laughs, “so right now I’m doing my rotation in a fluid mechanics lab.” Plus, she explains that enrolling in the program rather than in a particular lab allows the university to evaluate students from various perspectives. “OIST accepts people with their entire range of interests,” she says, “instead of just their contributions to one area.”
Yoriko’s favorite part of OIST is the diverse range of people and interests she has encountered. “I’ve been at other interdisciplinary institutions,” she says, “but at no other place do you get to speak with biologists and physicists on the same day. It’s really easy to segregate but people here make time to mix.”