Tokyo Institute of Technology: Two Tokyo Tech students certified as accessibility leaders

Yasunari Shinoda, a 1st-year doctoral student in Chemical Science and Engineering,* and Keisuke Sumitomo, a 3rd-year student in Mechanical Engineering* have become the first Tokyo Tech students to be certified as accessibility leaders by the Accessibility Leader Promotion Consortium, an association consisting of 23 universities and the Japan Student Services Organization. Shinoda, Sumitomo, and six Tokyo Tech faculty and staff members passed the Level 2 Accessibility Leader examination in December 2020, and received their certifications on March 17, 2021 from Executive Vice President for Education Tetsuya Mizumoto.

ALP encourages budding accessibility leaders
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 and an examination that leads to an accessibility qualification. Participants can also deepen their knowledge through additional internships and study camps. The consortium held its 15th Accessibility Leader examination in December 2020.

Tokyo Tech joined the consortium in 2020, ensuring all students, faculty, and staff access to ALP free of charge. A number of community members jumped at the opportunity, hoping to use their newly acquired knowledge to create a more accessible Tokyo Tech for all. At the awarding ceremony, Executive Vice President Mizumoto congratulated the certificate recipients and expressed high expectations for the new accessibility leaders, both on and off campus.

ALP studies typically begin online every July and culminate in the Accessibility Leader examination in December. As Tokyo Tech prepares for its second cohort of the program in 2021, heightened interest is expected.

Comments from certified students
Yasunari Shinoda
1st-year doctoral student, Chemical Science and Engineering*

The broad goal at our lab is to contribute to energy saving and global environmental protection, and to realize carbon neutrality by advancing energy conversion technology. We aim to improve the efficiency of production and refinement of hydrogen, the carrier of clean energy, and we are developing a novel hydrogen permeable membrane using a unique method.

I have been helping new students through Tokyo Tech’s Student Life Coach activities for three years now. I felt a certain closeness to the concept of accessibility, and therefore decided to take the course and the exam. I was part of the inaugural cohort at Tokyo Tech to complete the certification, but I expect interest to grow as we enter the second and third terms.

Keisuke Sumitomo
3rd year, Mechanical Engineering*

The lab I belong to aims to elucidate environmental turbulence phenomena using fluid simulations. I am currently learning the fundamentals in this field and deciding on a suitable research topic for myself.

As a junior Student Life Coach, I interview Tokyo Tech faculty members and plan and conduct evening seminars. My activities involve writing articles that may reach a broad audience, and this course allowed me to understand more deeply what I must consider when writing. I believe I can utilize what I have learned through this course in the future. The material was very easy to understand, and I very much enjoyed this learning opportunity.

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