Life Science and Technology News
The Accessibility Leader Promotion Consortium, an association consisting of 23 universities and the Japan Student Services Organization, has certified 22 students and 16 faculty and staff members of Tokyo Tech as accessibility leaders. The Institute's members, who passed the Level 2 Accessibility Leader examination in December 2021, received their certifications at a ceremony at Hisao & Hiroko Taki Plaza (Taki Plaza) on March 15, 2022 from Vice President for Student Affairs Tetsuji Okamura.
The certification ceremony also included a session during which Student Accessibility Leaders for academic year 2021 conducted the Tokyo Tech Accessibility Survey. Opinions about accessibility at the Institute were expressed openly, and these opinions were collected and will be utilized when preparing Tokyo Tech's Accessibility Map.
The Accessibility Leadership Program (ALP), offered by the Accessibility Leader Promotion Consortium, focuses on ensuring the right to access facilities and participate in activities regardless of factors such as disabilities, physical characteristics, age, language, or culture. ALP consists of an online course of study, an examination that leads to an accessibility qualification, and an optional Accessibility Leader Camp. The consortium held its 16th Accessibility Leader examination in December 2021.
Tokyo Tech joined the consortium in 2020, ensuring all students, faculty, and staff access to ALP free of charge. In December 2020, two Tokyo Tech students passed the examination. A year later, this figure jumped to 22. Kanta Okusawa, a 3rd-year Mathematics student, also completed the online Accessibility Leader Camp in March.
As a Peer Life Coach, I am involved in creating text and images for articles distributed to students twice a month using the LINE app. These articles are read on smartphones which have a narrow width, so maintaining high visibility is required. This is why I got interested in accessibility. During ALP, I learned about tools such as VoiceOver, multiple architecture standards, and many other new things.
I am a member of Science Techno, an official Tokyo Tech student club that holds science-related craft classes for elementary school students. We have also organized events with the special needs branch of a high school. To expand on these activities, I started a new student club called Kutsubako+ at Tokyo Tech, where we focus on heightening awareness on diversity-related issues such as the braille writing system, sign language, and gender. We have organized various activities related to these topics. I want to apply what I learned at ALP to making slides and websites that are easy to understand for everyone, including elementary school students and other people with various needs.
I teach crafts to children as a member of Science Techno, an official Tokyo Tech student club. Through ALP, I realized once again that there are many different types of disabilities and that each of them must be addressed individually. It is also important to display compassion, and to show consideration that is based on knowledge. Knowledge and information in this field is constantly renewed, and therefore I would like to continue my accessibility studies so I stay up to date.
I study a broad range of science and engineering fields and aim to make science accessible and easy to understand for everyone. As a Taki Plaza Gardener and Peer Life Coach, I am also involved in the planning and operation of Taki Plaza and the support for new students.
I am interested in communicating with people from different backgrounds, and there were many things I learned that I can apply to my future research. I also learned that there are people who feel inconvenienced in unexpected situations in their daily lives, and this has made me more attentive regarding my surroundings.
I am currently studying probability theory. I once saw a visually impaired person with a white cane who appeared to be in some sort of trouble, but I was unable to do anything because I did not know how to interact with him. I felt truly unworthy and sensed that I needed to learn how to provide better access to this society, which demands diversity. This is what sparked my interest in accessibility and motivated me to attend the Accessibility Leader Camp.
I am a club member of both Science Techno and Chemtech at Tokyo Tech. I have often seen statements about accessibility when setting up a smartphone or creating a PowerPoint document, but I was not particularly aware of it before ALP. I am now able to consider documents from various perspectives, not just from the viewpoint of being easy to read. I want to continue trying to create documents that take accessibility into consideration.
While studying at the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the School of Engineering, I also hold seminars with friends, and enjoy programming and photography as hobbies. One accomplishment I achieved through ALP was learning what is required not only for accessibility in various physical areas — places where we need to consider things like handrails, hallways, parking lot widths, and elevator sizes — but what is required in terms of accessible web layout.
In academic year 2022, I will join a lab that focuses on mathematical analysis. In academic year 2021, I was the representative of the official student club Science Techno, which practices science communication with elementary school students. I called on the members of the club to join ALP because I thought it would be beneficial for our activities.
Our department specializes in organic materials, and in academic year 2022, I will join a lab that mainly conducts research on polymeric materials. I enjoyed ALP because I was able to gain knowledge that I normally would not have come across, knowledge that I want to utilize in the future. I also learned that people face challenges in their daily lives that we usually do not think about.
I am currently conducting research on molten borate with the aim of unifying CO2 collection and use. A big part of my motivation to join ALP was my membership in Science Techno, a science communication student club, during my undergraduate years at Tokyo Tech. Once again, it was great to learn new things as we strive towards a more diverse world.
I am conducting research on information visualization technology and applications that use social networking and other big data to gain a better understanding of society. Before ALP, I was not aware of facilities that I do not use, but through this program, I was able to learn, among other things, how parking spaces for the physically impaired are installed.
I belong to a lab that works on co-designing software and hardware to accelerate machine learning. I was able to utilize my existing knowledge to evaluate correctly about 70% of what was covered in ALP, but the other 30% was new, something that I would not have noticed if I did not study it. Although I may not remember all the detailed figures that were presented, I felt that the content would provide useful hints to look back on when making decisions in the future.
I conduct research on food ingredients that have stress-reducing effects. During the COVID-19 pandemic, as I went job hunting, I started thinking about diversity and decided to learn about accessibility. I am planning to get a job at a B-to-C company in fiscal year 2022, and as my future customers will be in various unique situations, I am glad that I was able to expand my knowledge regarding this topic. I thought I knew what there is to know about disabilities and barrier-free access, but at ALP, I was surprised to learn about the existence of knowledge I wasn't aware of earlier. Acquiring this knowledge was truly a learning experience. I am glad that I was able to learn about various fields in a balanced manner.
I belong to a lab that deals with healthcare, electromagnetic environments, and social harmony using wireless communication and radio technology. At ALP, I was able to learn a wide range of methods for improving accessibility in terms of both characteristics of the human body and social systems. I felt that what I learned can be applied in various situations where I interact with people.
All affiliations were accurate at the time of the event.