About us

Our team

Last updated: 1 October 2021

Meet our co-founders, listed in alphabetical order.

Kozue Okamura

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Tell us about yourself. I am a PhD student in the Department of Chemical Systems Engineering. I am studying safer and more efficient pharmaceutical manufacturing processes. I am interested in clarifying the connection between the raw materials of pharmaceutical products to society.

Why did you start Toward Diversity? I joined this team because I would like people to become aware of the many possibilities and make convincing choices. There have been always role models around me. In addition, there have been people who always affirmed and supported my career choices. Therefore, I have never hesitated about going on to STEM, going to the University of Tokyo, or going on to a doctoral course, just by saying “because I am female”. However, I learned that there are cases where the choices are narrowed down unconsciously because of gender. I would like to share the fun of the process of finding the most interesting path for each person from the wider options.

Maximilien Berthet

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Tell us about yourself. I am a PhD student in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, in the Graduate School of Engineering, from France and the UK. My research is in small satellite design and simulation. I am interested in how satellites interact with the space environment.

Why did you start Toward Diversity? Before coming to Japan for my studies, I had never deeply experienced being a minority. This change in the way I perceived myself, in relation to the way others in the surrounding environment viewed me, caused me to think more actively about what it means to not be part of the majority. Around this time, some colleagues in the GSDM program were starting a project to raise awareness of gender equality at UTokyo. I felt a strong motivation to contribute, in order to frame the issues more clearly in my mind, and to cultivate an enjoyable research environment for all UTokyo members.

Saeko Kawataki

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Tell us about yourself. I am a PhD student in the Department of Computational Biology and Medical Sciences in the Graduate School of Frontier Sciences. I am studying the molecular mechanism of how cells sense oncogenic stress and induce stress response.

Why did you start Toward Diversity? When I was an undergraduate student, I had a lot of difficulties because there were very few women around me. This experience led me to start this project. At that time, I thought it would be nice if there was something to connect women on campus. I would be happy if our webpage, Her UTokyo interviews, and our events could be that "something”. In the course of our activities, I learned that there were so many wonderful female researchers at UTokyo, which was very encouraging. I would like to continue our activities and share the stories of role models to encourage all women in UTokyo.

Yang Li

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Tell us about yourself. I am a PhD student in the Department of Computational Biology and Medical Sciences in the Graduate School of Frontier Sciences. I am focusing on developing in vitro liver tissues from human induced pluripotent stem cells.

Why did you start Toward Diversity? As an international student at UTokyo, I could understand the loneliness and anxiety the minority could face during daily life. Meanwhile, growing up in a family with open gender roles, I was deeply affected by my parents and believed that everyone should abandon traditional gender roles and live the way they want. I hope everyone in our society could be viewed and treated as individuals with independent thoughts and feelings. The voice from me alone might be small, but working together with the same objective with my friends, I believe we could make the change.