Alumni Spotlight: Noritaka Miyamoto

TMCC alumni Noritaka Miyamoto holds a diploma at his graduation ceremony.
Rebecca A. Eckland

Noritaka Miyamoto works as an engineer in his home country of Japan.  His journey to that career began at TMCC, however, when he attended an information session and learned how TMCC’s unique combination of quality education, beautiful surroundings and supportive campus community could offer a fulfilling academic experience. “I attended a college information session...and I heard there weren’t too many other Japanese students like there can be at other universities. Also, the pictures I saw of Reno were attractive. I’ve lived in Tokyo, where nature and clear air can be rare,” he said. 

Miyamoto came to TMCC focused on two possible majors: engineering and architecture, both of which offer an associate of science degree. He took introductory courses in each discipline; instead of making a decision to pursue one or the other, he decided to pursue an associate of science degree, that would enable him the flexibility to pursue both. 

Overcoming Obstacles

Even though Miyamoto was passionate about his degree program and attending classes, the journey to his degree was not always easy. One of the biggest challenges he faced didn’t actually happen on the Dandini Campus or at any other TMCC location, but instead when he took an online class from TMCC when he was still living in Japan. 

“At first, I thought an online class would be easier than an in-person class, but it wasn’t,” he said. “There is a 16-hour time difference between the Western United States and Japan, so my classes were held at 1–4 a.m. in my time zone.” 

In addition to the early hour, Miyamoto discovered that the pace of an online learning environment progressed more quickly than an in-person one. Because the students were not in the same room with the instructor, many students were hesitant to ask questions to clarify what had just been covered in the lecture. “Sometimes I just couldn’t ask because the professor had already moved on to the next step,” he said. “To overcome this challenge, I relied on tutoring and I asked my peers, when I could, to make sure I understood the class content.” 

In fact, Miyamoto was inspired by his classmates at TMCC, whose positivity and optimism were contagious. “The attitude of other students in my classes—especially my psychology class—made me realize I had to change my attitude not only in class but also in my day-to-day life. I was a passive person before, but I began to understand the importance of expressing myself. This had a huge impact on my education and my life,” he said.

Learning Life Lessons

Miyamoto graduated from TMCC in Spring 2021 with his associate of science degree. As he moves forward into the next phase of his professional life as an engineer, he reflects on how other students can make the most out of their time in higher education. 

“I think the important thing is using everything to accomplish what you want to,” he said. “For example, if you want to get an A in a class, you should reach out to the professor and other staff who can help you. If you have a question, you can ask the professor, other classmates or tutors...even if it is a small question. Keep asking until you are satisfied that you know the answer.” 

TMCC 50th Anniversary Celebration 

As a part of TMCC’s 50th Anniversary Celebration for the 2021-2022 academic year, we will be highlighting the success stories of our amazing alumni. Check back with our anniversary website for more details of the ongoing celebration or send your alumni success stories to our Marketing and Communications team.