Toya Kitagawa became an IEEE member in 2018 and established the IEEE Sendai Young Professionals Affinity Group (Sendai YP) on 21st June 2019. Since then, he has been contributing to volunteer activities as the Sendai YP Chair. This group held the IEEE Sendai YP kick-off event, which was able to encourage the active exchange among young engineers by inviting young entrepreneurs as speakers. Since 2020, he has also been the Vice-Chair of the IEEE Transdisciplinary-Oriented Workshop for Emerging Researchers (TOWERS) and organized the 17th IEEE TOWERS, which was held online for the first time. In addition, he played a big part in the success of various events such as a lecturer at the 2nd IEEE Engineer Spotlight and the Meeting to Talk about Careers in the Doctoral Course; participated in the executive committee and served as the moderator at the IEEE Japan SYWL Workshop in Hiroshima; a judge for the 12th Career Advancement and Skill Improvement Essay Contest, and so on. He has organized numerous events at Sendai YP, and since 2021, has also served as the IEEE Kansai Young Professionals Affinity Group Vice-Chair. In addition to these activities, he and Sendai YP are also focusing on recruiting members. Sendai YP’s activity philosophy is “to let people know about attractive YP activities,” and it actively engaged in activities to spread awareness of the benefits of IEEE and YP. In the “Voice of IEEE Members, IEEE Japan” (https://ieeetv.ieee.org/speaker/toya-kitagawa), he speaks passionately about the appeal and value of IEEE membership.
The Tohoku region is one of the largest in Japan, and it is difficult to get everyone together because the research organizations are located far apart. Therefore, when there is an academic conference in the Tohoku region, such as the Tohoku Branch Joint Conference of the Electrical Engineering Society, the Tohoku Chapter Acoustic Society of Japan, and the Tohoku Region Young Researcher Research Presentation, the Sendai YP hosts YP public relations and social gatherings to create a place for young researchers, including students, to interact and to promote IEEE and YP. In addition, the group posted Sendai YP public relations posters at Tohoku University, Yamagata University, and the University of Aizu, and released a short introductory video to let students know about Sendai YP during university classes. In recognition of these achievements, Sendai YP has received an award from the Yonezawa Industry Association.
Toya Kitagawa has been working in a research and development position at Panasonic Corporation since 2019. As an audio systems developer, his mission is to design a space where users can spend comfortably using sound. In addition, during the same period, he was also a doctoral student at the Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Yamagata University. For his doctorate, he is developing a stereophonic navigation system for the visually impaired. In 2019, this research received three awards: The Tohoku Area Young Researcher Presentation Award, the Tohoku Chapter Acoustics Society of Japan Excellent Paper Award, and the 16th IEEE TOWERS Socio-Next Sponsor Award. Activities as an IEEE volunteer seem to have had a great influence on the balance between research at universities and companies. University research is more specialized and deepens the technology; corporate research is from the customer’s point of view, with social issues in mind, especially the perspective of how to solve problems with the technology that we have. He believes that he can make interesting discoveries because he is doing research from both perspectives. Activities at IEEE enable him to interact with people who have different perspectives and increase the number of peers who can talk about technology, research, and careers. He strongly believes IEEE is the best place to expand your world, and he looks forward to many more young professionals joining and discussing technologies that will lead to the next generation together.