NU Friends Scholarship
The Nagoya University Alumni Association (NUAL) US Chapter, (A.K.A. “NU Friends”) provides “NU Friends Scholarship” to current Nagoya University students who wish to engage in international research or business activities in the U.S.
2023 Scholar: Mariko Yoshida
In September 2023, I traveled to Minnesota, United States with the support of the NU Friends Scholarship to conduct research on the technology usage of the elderly and the provision of tech help resources in the region. I am writing this report to provide an account of my activities and express my heartfelt gratitude to the generous supporters of this scholarship.
Outcome of the Activity
During my visit to Hennepin County, Minnesota, I had the opportunity to visit both the Edina Senior Center and the Eden Prairie Senior Center. At these centers, I observed senior tech help sessions and engaged in discussions with the staff members responsible for organizing these programs. This research endeavor was a crucial component of my graduation thesis, which focuses on the utilization of information technology by the elderly, conducted at the School of Informatics at Nagoya University.
At the Edina Senior Center, I observed IT sessions led by a local IT expert. Participants brought their personal information technology devices, including smartphones, tablets, and laptops. I had the privilege of interacting with one senior who shared her technology-related challenges, particularly due to English not being her first language. This issue appears to be a common occurrence in the United States. I also had informative discussions with the dedicated staff members at the center.
In contrast, the Eden Prairie Senior Center hosted an event where local high school students aided elderly residents with their technology needs. This event featured multiple simultaneous sessions in a single room, allowing for interactions between the seniors, staff, and students. The staff member I conversed with emphasized the value of intergenerational interactions, a concept I had the chance to witness in action.
In addition to my observations, I conducted interviews with an elderly couple and their family to gain further insights into technology usage among the elderly. It became evident that technology use is a significant concern within elderly communities in the United States, often hindering their access to essential public and medical services.
I intend to incorporate these findings into my research group's discussions at Nagoya University and include them in my graduation thesis. Furthermore, I plan to present my research at an upcoming research conference in Nagoya.
Appreciation for the Scholarship Supporters
I am extremely grateful to have been a recipient to this scholarship. This scholarship has afforded me the opportunity to broaden my research perspective on a global scale through the invaluable observations and interviews I conducted in the United States. I am committed to further advancing my research endeavors at Nagoya University, leveraging the knowledge I have acquired during this scholarship-funded experience. Moreover, my aspiration is to contribute to global society by continuing my research work in the United States in the future.