Science News

Saint Maur Biologists Collaborate with Researchers for RIKEN Open Day Video

Saint Maur’s relationship with Riken (理研) goes back to 2014 when Grade 11 IB Biologists were invited to visit the famous research institute on a yearly basis. This cooperation consolidated further when Dr Akiko Minoda offered to host a group of Grade 12 students for a summer lab experience in 2018.

Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the two last visits had to be cancelled but we got a nice surprise when Dr Minoda contacted us last summer to ask us whether our students would be interested in participating in RIKEN’s upcoming RIKEN Yokohama Open Day on the Web, an ambitious online event designed to replace their usual Open Campus Day.

We called for volunteers in late August and the enthusiastic response allowed us to put together a team of volunteers from Grade 11 to 12. The segment that the students would be involved with was to be called 「YOUは何しに日本へ?」(Why did you come to RIKEN?), inspired by the popular Japanese TV program called「YOUは何しに日本へ?」. In this program, a camera crew waits at the airport to interview foreigners and asks them why they came to Japan. They also follow some of them throughout their trip.

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Dr Minoda asked the students to act as the TV crew and interview foreign researchers at RIKEN and follow some of them describing what they do at work, at their desks and/or in the lab. Due to the contamination mitigation measures in place at Saint Maur and at RIKEN, Marin, Yuki, Anna, Cheng Tai, and Arisa, the reporters of the day, conducted their interviews through visioconference. The PR staff at RIKEN offered support by shooting the interviews from their side and Dr Erard made a trip to the facilities to shoot some videos of the people interviewed.

The multiple moving parts and tight deadline required the students to be extremely organized and efficient in preparing the questions, setting up their individual appointments, and translating their interviews into Japanese so that subtitles could be displayed for its intended Japanese audience.

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In spite of everybody’s hard work, it became clear that the editing part could not be done in time. Dr Erard contacted Sarah, a Grade 10 student who had established a solid reputation at school for her video work, and her positive response meant that the project was back on track! After a lot of work and a few coffee-fueled evenings, the video was ready for display on the RIKEN Yokohama Open Day on the Web page!

The Science Department would like to thank the students for their dedication and hard work, and the staff and researchers at RIKEN for giving us this opportunity and for their help and advice throughout the process. We hope to continue collaborating with RIKEN in the future.

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