International Student Spotlight: Nami Nishimura

At SUNY Geneseo, there are so many international students being successful in their academics. Nami Nishimura is one of them.

Nami Nishimura, ’20, Physics

Who is Nami?

Nami is a senior Physics major interested in astrophysics, and she is from Nara, Japan.

Why Did She Choose to Study Physics at Geneseo?

As a person who wanted to leave Japan, there are so many schools she could’ve gone to. However, Nami chose SUNY Geneseo because of the school’s affordability. International students often have to pay a lot for tuition, even at a public university, so Geneseo’s relatively cheap tuition attracted her. Nami came to Geneseo in Spring 2017 as an undeclared student because she was not sure what to study at the time. But the astronomy class she took with Dr. Aaron Steinhauerin her first semester made her fall in love with astrophysics and forever changed her life.

Extracurricular Involvement at Geneseo

Though she has been busy with academics, Nami has quite actively involved in extracurricular activities. First she was in the women’s rugby team, as she was a player at her high school. Then, she became a resident assistant (RA) as she was interested in engaging with her fellow residents while living on campus for free (except for food). As an international student, she also was a RAISE (Resident Assistant for International Student Engagement), and she planned several multicultural events in resident halls. Nami recalls that her time as an RA was busy and stressed because she did not yet feel comfortable taking on a phone in English, especially with police officers. However, through this experience, Nami says that she was able to develop her communication skill, as well as her time-management skill.

In addition to those involvements, Nami has also worked at the International Student and Scholar Services for more than 2 years and shown so much initiative. One of the many new initiatives she instituted was the International Peer Mentor program. With this successful program, many international students, especially those who just came to Geneseo, can connect with older, more experienced students who can provide such students advice and support. As we are in the pandemic, the number of mentors declined, but the program still has six IPM volunteers.

Nami’s Academic Involvements

Not only is she very actively involved in extracurricular activities, but Nami also is an academically successful student at Geneseo. Because of her outstanding academic records, Nami has been a tutor for physics and math for more than two years, and she has also been a lab instructor for an astronomy class. Moreover, Nami has been actively engaging in researches, including the study at the Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona (Summer & Winter 2019) and the research at the James Webb Space Telescope (Summer 2021). Nami says she has struggled to find good programs for her, as many of them are limited only to US citizens. However, because of her dedication, her professor made sure she received the research experience she deserves.

Nami’s Research Presented at the GREAT Day 2020

What is Nami Planning To Do After Graduation?

As mentioned earlier, Nami will be involved in a research at the James Webb Space Telescope next summer. After that, Nami plans to attend a graduate school in the United States because physics graduate students can go to school for free and even receive scholarships. In the future, Nami would also like to get a Ph.D. in physics. She says she is not sure exactly what she wants to do after getting a Ph.D., but as a person who has known her since her first semester, I am certain that she will have a successful career, whatever she will choose to do in the furure.


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