On February 6th, 2019, the Cabinet Office organized a symposium, titled “Successful Careers for Women in Science and Engineering and Their Roles” for parents and teachers as part of course selection support to guide female students to science and engineering fields, in a small hall at Matsumoto Performing Arts Centre, and the President of Shinshu University, Dr. Kunihiro Hamada, made a greeting speech.


This was followed by a greeting speech from the organizer, the Gender Equality Bureau at the Cabinet Office that introduced “Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Challenge (Riko-Challe),” an effort of the Japanese Government to encourage female junior and high school students to select their courses in the fields of science and engineering, together with the announcement of some results of various surveys regarding students’ course selections. Thereafter, Dr. Kyoko Kamiya, Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Engineering of Tokyo University of Science Suwa (TUSS), gave a keynote address. Dr. Kamiya humorously talked about wide-ranged stories: an unexpectedly encounter for her course selection that led her to the current study of smell science and fire science; her current commitment, as one of her work, to conducting investigations and analyses of the fire sites upon the request of the police, in addition to her research and education at her university; and her roles to make those survey results easily understandable for police officers and prosecutors, many of whom are graduates of humanities. She also mentioned her passions for educating students and young researchers.


This was followed by a panel discussion, inviting two panelists, Ms. Ayako Kogahara, a graduate of the School of Science (chemical major) and currently working at Technical Development Department of Seiko Epson Corporation, and Ms. Megumi Matsuhashi, a graduate of the Faculty of Engineering (former Department of Information Engineering) and currently working at Electronics Technology Department of Orion Machinery Co., LTD., together with Ms. Miyoko Watanabe, Vice President of Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) and Dr. Kamiya. They frankly spoke about their own experiences: their reasons to select the fields of science and engineering, their first encounters to get interested in science and engineering, their enjoyable experiences and difficulties after having started their studies in science and engineering, and so forth.


Lastly, the panelist sent their warm messages to younger generations: whether you like or not, you will need basic knowledge about history and Japanese language when you start to work in society, even if your work might be in the field of science. They also encouraged students to open their mind to have wider interests, without narrowing their potentials in selecting either science or humanities at earlier stages, so that they could grasp any opportunities when they encounter what they really want to do. In addition, the panelists requested parents and teachers to encourage and support these younger students in pursuit of their dreams.