Studying in Land of the Rising Sun
Since she was little, Sydney “Sy” Stock has been a Nipponophile – she’s loved Japanese art and culture. And as soon as travel bans and other pandemic-related barriers give way to normalcy, she will have the opportunity to experience it first-hand, thanks to her academic performance at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Stock, a fifth-year biomedical engineering student who graduates in May from the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University, has won a MEXT Scholarship, which will allow her to spend two years pursuing a masters in biomechanical engineering from Osaka University’s Graduate School of Engineering Science.
Administered through the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, the competitive MEXT program provides scholarships to foreign students who want to study in Japan. She was awarded one of two scholarships available from the Osaka biomechanical engineering program, “although there are many different types of MEXT scholarships,” says Stock, whose scholarship is called the, “special training program for the integration of data science and biomechanical engineering to support long-term life society.”
When and once the world returns to normalcy, following COVID-19 protocols, Stock will likely spend a year taking classes at Osaka U., then spend a year on research. The scholarship award provides for tuition, application fees, entrance exam fees, travel to and from Japan, plus a monthly stipend for living expenses.
Stock applied to the program in November 2019 and participated in two screenings. The first involved a Skype meeting with her potential advisor in mid-December, which served as preparation for the official interview later, in January – a Skype meeting that involved more faculty. She received word that she’d been accepted at Osaka University later that month, and in March came word that she’d won the MEXT Scholarship. Since then, she’s been studying the Japanese language (although classes are taught in English).
“It feels really surreal to be a recipient of this scholarship,” says Stock, whose hometown is Duluth, Minnesota. While at Tech, she played in the Yellow Jacket Marching Band, was a member of the GT Salsa Club, and served as a prototyping instructor in the Invention Studio. She believes her diverse range of undergraduate experiences – which included studying abroad for the Fall 2018 semester at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M), Madrid, Spain – motivated her to seek the scholarship.
“That experience completely transformed my worldview and career goals,” Stock says. “I envision myself working at an international medical device company someday, leveraging both my language skills and cultural knowledge while tackling global problems. I can’t wait to go live in a part of the world that is new and different from anything I’ve ever experienced.”
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