Six Mayville State students and their faculty mentors will be conducting research in Japan May 13 to June 14, 2017. Pictured in the front (l-r) are Aaron Kingsbury, Lona Smith, Megan Maassel, Cheyenne Durant, and Cherokee Durant. In the back (l-r) are Donte Stevens, Ingrid Hefta, and Nicholas Peterson.

Cherokee_Durant_2-web.jpgCherokee Durant

Senior Biology Major, with an interest in medical science
Devils Lake, N.D.
My project for the ASIANetwork is "Comparing Traditions in Rural Healthcare for the Elderly in Japan and Native American Cultures." As a member of the Chickasaw tribe, I know that both the Japanese and Native American cultures show great respect for the elderly and the belief systems that involve traditional healing and caring for the elderly. However, there's some friction in the modern work of western medicine and urbanization. There is also evidence of health disparities of this age group in both cultures, which greatly affects their access to healthcare and well-being. My project also studies the use of Kampo medicine, which is essentially Chinese herbal medicine. My goal is to find the similarities between the factors of culture that affect the healthcare for the elderly population. The similarities in the problems the elderly face is to alert that much work is needed to improve the quality of life for people who live in rural areas. Closing the gap between generations and reaching out to the people in need will help in finding solutions to help the elders live long and healthy lives.

Cheyenne-web.jpgCheyenne Durant

Senior Biology and   Sociology Major
Devils Lake, N.D.

I have always loved animals, especially their significance to my tribe's history and lore. Having grown up in the Chickasaw Nation, I heard stories about animals and how they helped shape my tribe's culture, as well as the cultures of other Native American tribes. My interest in the legends and symbolism of animals extended to other countries as I actively looked for books about myths from all over the world. I've been fascinated with Japan and how nature and wildlife have influenced its history and culture. My research looks into how one of Japan's creatures, the wild boar, has left a large impact on the country's agriculture and tourism industry. My work will involve surveying the farms affected by the wild boars and interviewing the farmers about the various techniques and equipment they are using to prevent more damage. I also plan to interview nuisance hunters to gain insight on the challenges of hunting in Japan, along with what else could be done to help their small communities deal with the growing wild boar population.


Ingrid-web.jpgIngrid Hefta

Freshman, University Studies Major
Mayville, N.D. 

I've lived on a farm outside of Mayville all my life. I attended PBJ Elementary and May-Port CG Middle School and High School. I am very excited to participate in a research project in Japan. I will be contacting and interacting with various LGBTQ organizations based in Kofu and in Tokyo. The hope in all of this is to get a better understanding of how those in the LGBTQ community are perceived in rural Japan and how that differs to urban Japan, and also comparing and contrasting our views with theirs.





Megan-web.jpgMegan Maassel

Junior, Elementary Education Major,
Early Childhood Education Minor
Fargo, N.D.

I have always wanted to become a teacher because I find the work very rewarding in a manner of different ways. While in Japan, I hope to gain some professional development as I will be going into a school and seeing the different atmosphere that is a Japanese school. I also hope to develop a better awareness culturally, to see if I can incorporate what I see in Japan into my future classrooms.






Nicholas-web.jpgNick Peterson

Sophomore, English Education Major, Geography Minor
Rutland, N.D.

I am Lead Writing Consultant for the Mayville State Writing Center as well as president of the English and Arts Club on campus. I am also a Mayville State Student Senator. I have the amazing opportunity to go to Japan to film a documentary outlining rural life. Some of my qualifications for the project include: 360 training hours in the field of television productions, a previous film I created was one of 12 to be selected to show at the North Dakota State Film Festival in 2012, and I have hands-on experience with aerial/drone photography. The project I will be creating is a comprehensive film aimed at highlighting the struggles and triumphs that are associated with rural Japanese life. I am excited to experience and document the lifestyles, industry, and culture of rural Japan. I intend to use my experience of living and working in rural North Dakota to draw comparisons as well as contrast the culture of rural Japan and North Dakota. I believe the agricultural lifestyle in North Dakota gives me a unique opportunity to film a documentary regarding rural life in an Asian culture.


Donte-web.jpgDonte Stevens

Junior, Business Administration Major,
Marketing and Management Specializations
Opa-Locka, Fla.

Some of the most influential people in my life have had a great deal of international experience. I first became interested in traveling, studying, and living abroad during my second semester in college when I was enrolled in a multi-cultural global issues class. Every day I left that class with a greater desire to travel the world and learn more from different cultural perspectives, especially Asia, as a leading world economic region. Although I was born in Miami, Fla., I now study in the rural community of Mayville. When I first arrived, I was surprised at how clean the air smelled and how vast the landscape was. Where were all the people? I have since grown as a man and learned to succeed in a different cultural environment. The region of the Kofu Basin is larger than the community of Mayville, yet it is considered relatively rural in Japan. I understand there is going to be considerably larger culture shock. I am excited for what that might mean. My research will focus on marketing and management differences between the United States and Japan. It is centered on the domestic wine industry of Yamahashi Prefecture. Wine is consumed all over the world. Studying the intricacies of wine marketing will be a step in the right direction of achieving my goal of excelling in an international business career. My personal research will explore the marketing of wines and how the approach differs, depending on the targeted demographic. This includes visual media. social media, bottle labeling, and geographic branding. I look forward to asking questions on these subjects with winery owners and production managers. This experience will enhance my academic profile, allow me to learn about Japan and Japanese business culture, and directly benefit my professional career development.

Will you help?


Would you like to help this team of Mayville State students who will be going on the trip of a lifetime to conduct research in Japan for a month? You can help them to have the full Japanese experience with your financial assistance.