The Graduate School Advance to a Higher Degree

Akane Ota

Akane Ota, from Nagoya, Japan, is a doctoral student in Forestry and Natural Resources. Her research topic is forest biological diversity and how it's affecting/affected by wildlife. Just like our human society, nature embraces diversity - different species, different shapes, and different ages. She is interested in knowing why and how forest biodiversity (differences in trees) is important, and how it impacts the animals and other wildlife that live there. 

Why did you choose Purdue?

Purdue has one of the most renowned graduate programs in agriculture, and thus offers plenty of leaning opportunities for students. Another biggest reason was that West Lafayette is recognized as one of the safest campus towns in the US with relatively inexpensive living costs.

What is your favorite fact about Purdue?

Purdue accepts a big number of international students from many countries, and even American students come from many parts of the US. Although Indiana itself is not as diverse as other bigger states, Purdue campus is full of mixed people with different background.

Career goal?

Since I was little, I have had a dream to save the beautiful and rich nature on this planet. In graduate school I found that I could approach this dream through science, and that brought me the objective to work in an international institution or research institution in the future. There are so many sections involving nature conservation, like politics, social science, economics, but I believe my fit is in science as an ecologist, and I would like to contribute to revealing the current status of nature, and what would happen under changing environment.

Where do you spend most of your time on campus?

My office at Pfendler Hall.

What apps, software, or tools can’t you live without?

R, Microsoft suites, Mendeley or EndNote, ArcGIS, WhatsApp, Instagram, LINE, Youtube, Podcasts. 

What’s your workspace setup?

Pretty simple - a desktop computer, some books, tea, and a few handcrafts from my grandmother.

How do you recharge?

Going to bouldering/climbing and having fun with people there while training hard.

What are you currently reading, or what is the last thing you read?

Origin, Dan Brown.

Is there anything else you'd like to add that might be interesting to readers?

I'd like to add an advice for international applicants. It is hard for international students to find a financial assistance in the US (especially if you're coming from outside of the US or a non-native English speaker), so I recommend you look for all the financial supports in your own country or supports for international students specifically.

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Number of Graduate Students Enrolled Since 2010: 30


What alums from this country are saying about their Purdue experience

I recall my first day to come to West Lafayette with anxiety and hope in August 8, 1988, which is easy to remember. 

After I worked for eight years in a shipping company in Japan, I decided to pursue for my future career in sports and leisure fields. Purdue was the first place I learnt this field. Through two years at Department of Physical Education, Health and Recreation Studies (now Health and Human Science), I came to know tourism is my most interest, and since then tourism remains as my lifework. Purdue gave me academic knowledge in tourism, and challenge spirit as well. It was precious experience for me to live and study in an international environment. 

Nobody can stick on its original country and nobody can escape from a given environment whenever they study abroad.  When we face challenge, some help to overcome might come. For my case, friends in class and host family helped a lot. At the same time such international environment made me realize that I am “Japanese” and realize that I do not know my country enough. 

Last year I visited West Lafayette first in 27 years to see the campus and meet our host family. Not only I felt a nostalgia, but I got motivation towards rest of my life. Purdue is “engine” which always keep encouraging me regardless of age. I worked for developing tourism destinations in a private company for 25 years and am now working for tourism development in the area where Tsunami devastated in 2011 through my own non-profit organization. Purdue is my “engine” to navigate here. 

Hiroaki Isogawa

Hiroaki Isogawa

M.S. HHS 1990 

President of Sunland United Association

 Japan Student Association on Facebook

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