My name is Chanikarn or Mint Wongviriyawong, a native Thai, PhD graduate from MIT, Singularity U and Carnegie Mellon University alumni. I am currently a lecturer at King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, cultivating passion in learning and creating value with the aid of robotic technology. I genuinely believe that technology has the potential to improve quality of life. My passion is to foster global citizens who can live a contributive life, creating value for those who do not have the opportunity to attend universities. My current research projects are listed at mintlab.org.
When I was an undergraduate student at Carnegie Mellon University (Robotics Institute), I continuously exerted myself to excel in all classes, be innovative in my research, and deliver satisfactory results despite my other efforts to volunteer my time at homeless and animal shelters. My major was Mechanical Engineering with two minors in Robotics and Computer Science. With outstanding academic achievements, I was recognized by my teachers, and supervisors. In my junior year, I was a teaching assistant for my classmates and even graduate students. My best pride was the Student Leadership Award that I received right before graduation in 2005 and my first publication in IEEE as an undergraduate student. Carnegie Mellon offers me such an intensive training, which enables me to learn the value of perseverance, dedication and passion. I owe a lot of my accomplishments to my teachers and friends there.
M I T P R E S I D E N T I A L F E L L O W S H I P
Being offered the Institute’s Linde Presidential Fellowship from to MIT, I was humbled by such honor and decided to pursue my graduate career at MIT. My favorite part about MIT is the academic integrity with which the institute relentlessly fosters its students. I learned that there will be times when we have to simply acknowledge that there are things we do not know, yet have the humility to learn from and work with others, and contribute to knowledge that must be used for a greater good for humanity. I learn to be humble, to listen to others, to appreciate the depth of knowledge that others have been able to develop through their tremendous passion and perseverance, not for the betterment of one’s sense of self, but of society. I learned to develop my wisdom to master these vast resources of knowledge and information that MIT offers, while enjoying countless sincere interactions among professors, colleagues, and classmates.
If there is one lesson I learn from MIT, it would be that “[t]he purpose of a university education is to enable one to contribute to society and to the welfare of others. Protecting the people, the just and honest–that’s what education is for. Individuals who can do that are truly great.” — Daisaku Ikeda.
My gratitude for the institute, Dean Ortiz, Pres. Hockfield, professors and friends goes beyond what cam be described by words.
H A R V A R D M E D I C A L S C H O O L — M G H
My research lab was at Massachusetts General Hospital, which is affiliated with Harvard Medical School. My research focused on understanding lung physiology and exploring potentially new and improved treatments for asthma. I worked with a team of scientists, engineers, physicians, and technicians from various institutes and countries, such as China, Mali, Brazil, France, etc. My PhD research focuses on complex system modeling of human lungs using both structural data from central airways, and regional ventilation within peripheral airways. This model can be used for identifying central airways responsible for the reduced ventilation in regions of the lung with high obstructions.
P E A C E A N D E M P O W E R M E N T
When I was not studying, I supported the youth throughout the east coast through volunteering in an organization called Soka Gakkai International (SGI) registered under the UN charter with its defined purpose to contribute to world peace through the cultural and education exchange based on the profound respect for the dignity of life. I enjoy serving as a local leader supporting these young members through a one-on-one dialogue to instill courage and hope and ensure their personal victories one after another.
In addition, I co-founded a student club called Applied Nichiren Buddhism and served as its president for two years. The club’s aim is to foster the philosophical foundation that empowers each individual to achieve his/her dreams, transforming their destiny, and hence society. The membership doubled within 6 months under my leadership as the club’s president. Through these extracurricular activities, I continue to support the SGI movement for peace, culture and education, and has developed a strong sense of purpose, which allows me to deepen my appreciation for the importance of all lives.
“Effort is not a means to lead us to happiness. Effort itself is happiness” — Leo Tolstoy
P O L I T I C S
My growing interests in politics has led me to study political theories in great details over the past few years. This has led to a minor in Political Science during my PhD. I have also volunteered my time as a web programmer for Abhisit Vejjajiva, the former Prime Minister of Thailand, and the leader of Thailand’s Democrat party.
A political forum with 4 speakers: Dr. Santitarn Sathirathai, Dr. Kraiyos Patrawat, Verapat Pariyawong, and myself with perspectives from an economist, policy analyst, lawyer, political scientist, and humanist.