Engineering alumnus opens doors for UW-Madison students through international internship

// Engineering Physics

Tags: alumni

Photo of Tatsuro Kozaki

Tatsuro Kozaki at an event for the Tokyo Chapter of the Wisconsin Alumni Association. Submitted photo.

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Sometimes the gains from a degree go beyond what is learned in the classroom.

That was the case for Tatsuro Kozaki, who enrolled in UW–Madison’s master’s program in nuclear engineering and engineering physics (NEEP) in 1994. When Kozaki arrived on campus, he was already an established professional. However, even with more than 13 years of experience at Hitachi, Ltd., a Japanese multinational conglomerate company founded in 1910, Kozaki still saw opportunity for growth.

Prior to attending UW–Madison, Kozaki had already built a strong academic background from Tokai University, where he majored in physics, focusing on nuclear fusion and plasma physics. The NEEP program at UW-Madison was not only a way for Kozaki to enhance his professional knowledge, but also to internationalize his experience and give him key insights into how Hitachi could better engage global markets.

“Hitachi is a global company,” Kozaki says. “There is a lot to learn about foreign affairs, so it is advantageous for the company to have employees learn abroad.”

After receiving his master’s degree in 1995, Kozaki returned to Japan and Hitachi, where he eventually became involved in efforts to bring students to Japan in an effort to internationalize the company. As a result, Kozaki has also been instrumental in creating a pipeline for UW–Madison students to gain professional experience and their own global perspective.

Internship with Hitachi

Six students from UW–Madison have participated in the internship with Hitachi since it began in 2014. The first two students, both from NEEP like Kozaki, completed the internship at Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy (HGNE), Ltd. NEEP students took part in the program again in 2016. Students from UW–Madison’s mechanical engineering program took part in the program at the Power Business Unit of Hitachi, Ltd. in 2017.

Hitachi’s involvement in a wide variety of sectors has given UW–Madison students the opportunity to take part in unique internships aligned closely with their academic and professional interests. Students interning for HGNE focused on equipment design and power plant design. Students interning for the Power Business Unit of Hitachi were involved in wind power projects. Both sites offered opportunities for students to gain practical training, become familiar with Hitachi facilities, tour Japan, and build relationships with Japanese colleagues.

“The Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy internship was a great way to offer nuclear engineering students a cross-cultural experience relevant to their studies,” says Michelle Kern Hall, interim director of UW–Madison’s International Internship Program, who worked with Kozaki to make the program available to UW-Madison students. “A passionate alumnus like Tatsuro Kozaki can help open doors to companies and opportunities abroad that would not otherwise be readily available to Badgers. His commitment to engaging with UW–Madison students during their time at Hitachi has been invaluable.”

A valuable resource for Badgers

Though Kozaki transitioned into a role as an engineering manager at Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems, Ltd. (MHPS) in 2014, he remains a strong advocate of the program and a resource for UW–Madison students during their time in Japan. He has been a key asset for students who can rely on his local and professional knowledge to succeed in the program.

“When I was staying in Madison, I was supported by the local community,” Kozaki says. “Offering this opportunity and assisting students is a way to return this support.”

When asked what skills he thought were necessary for the current generation of students to succeed professionally, Kozaki noted the importance of logical thinking and the ability to accumulate and construct knowledge. He says that he has been impressed with the ability of UW–Madison students he has met to engage these skills.

Kozaki continues to develop his own career. He has served as an engineering manager at MHPS in recent years. He is also listed on international patents for power plants, such as a Bushing and Generator, filed in June 2008; a Liquid Level Control System, filed in November 2009; and a Fluid Level Measurement Instrument by Using Solenoid Coil, filed in October 2012–all while at Hitachi. In addition, Kozaki has authored several academic papers on nuclear power throughout his career. He continues to be an active member of the Tokyo Chapter of the Wisconsin Alumni Association.

Author: Steven Barcus