As executive assistant to the chairman/CEO at Casio America Inc. in New Jersey, Rie Yamakawa translates documents between Japanese and English in executing business requirements, and serves as an interpreter for visitors from the electronics company’s main office in Tokyo.
Yamakawa came to SUNY Oneonta as an international student from Japan. She was seeking a medium-size school where she could develop relationships with the faculty and staff, and have many options for a course of study. “When I visited the campus, I immediately felt people’s friendliness,” she recalled. “I sensed that I could be surrounded by good people who are lighthearted and positive.”
At first she wasn’t sure which discipline she wanted to focus on, but after several meetings with her academic adviser, she decided to major in interdisciplinary studies with minors in business communication and speech communication.
Looking back on her time at Oneonta, Yamakawa said a career preparation class she took during her senior year was a key factor in planning for her future. “In fact, I had seamless transition by having a new career before my graduation,” she said. “I worked for a major Japanese chemical company as a human resources supervisor for eight years, and my former employer sponsored my H1B working visa to legally work in the U.S.”
Nearly 20 years after graduation, she still remembers her favorite class, Conflict Management with Art Dauria. She also can’t forget the many fun experiences she had as a member of the International Student Organization. “I met my lifetime friends from all over the world and spent wonderful time with local host families. I truly enjoyed the diverse atmosphere while I was focusing on my studies.”