Information For:

Give back to HGSE and support the next generation of passionate educators and innovative leaders.

News & Events

Finding Fulfillment: Tomihiro Ono, L&T'20

The Intellectual Contribution Award recipient for Learning and Teaching reflects on his time at HGSE and looks toward the future.
Tomihiro Ono and the ALTBridge Group

Tomihiro Ono: "This is a photo of me with the four others in ALTBridge (l-r: Hazel Peh, Ai Lin Hui, Julia Rowny, Gigi Ban, and Ono), a project group that was formed in T402: Group Learning (taught by Daniel Wilson)."

Photo courtesy of Tomihiro Ono

The Intellectual Contribution Award recognizes 13 Ed.M. students (one from each Ed.M. program) whose dedication to scholarship enhanced HGSE’s academic community and positively affected fellow students. Tomihiro Ono will be honored with the Intellectual Contribution Award for Learning and Teaching (L&T) at HGSE's Virtual Commencement on May 28.

Senior Lecturer Kathryn Boudett, faculty director of L&T, comments on Ono's selection: “Tomi brings a deep curiosity to any discussion he joins. I have cherished our conversations over the course of the year, which have made me stop and question my own assumptions about how knowledge is created and about how the ways each of us organizes our work reflects our values and aspirations. I was fortunate to have Tomi conduct my initiation to HGSE’s Innovation Lab, and I loved the opportunity to experience his teaching first hand."

We spoke to Ono about his time at HGSE, his future plans, and what the new normal in education might look like:

What does the photo above mean to you?  

Tomihiro Ono: This is a photo of me with the four others in ALTBridge, a project group that was formed in T402: Group Learning (taught by Daniel Wilson). I’d been generally skeptical of group work, but my teammates helped make ALTBridge the most engaging, enjoyable, humorous, rigorous, and warm group work experience I’ve had in any course. So much so that we kept meeting regularly in the spring, after the course had ended! We are now all over the globe but we try to keep each other updated despite the times.

What are your post-HGSE plans?

TO: I am working on some projects for a venture company to develop digital therapeutics and educational content for medical students. Eventually I think I would want to direct a school of some kind.

What is something that you learned at HGSE that you will take with you throughout your career in education?

TO: Fundamentally I have to come to feel that learning is one of the most powerful avenues for self-advancement and self-fulfillment for anyone. I think I probably thought that in my head before coming here, but now I feel so too. And I think that fulfillment comes easiest when learners can use their learning to do good for others. In my future educational endeavors, I will keep these things in mind and hopefully continue to learn and find more and more ways to help others find their sense of fulfilling good.

"Fulfillment comes easiest when learners can use their learning to do good for others. In my future educational endeavors, I will keep these things in mind and hopefully continue to learn and find more and more ways to help others find their sense of fulfilling good." – Tomihiro Ono

Is there any professor or class that significantly shaped your experience at the Ed School?

TO: I was fortunate, I think, to be able to say that all of the classes I happened to take were significant for me. I could choose any of them and have a lot to write. My most recent hour of writing was for S301: The Arts and Learning by Steve Seidel. Through it I reconnected with my practice in the arts (even though I have been a non-arts person for a long time) and saw in its purest form the empowering role that education can play in providing tools and mindsets for people. A strong sense of community was built and nurtured, even after transitioning to online-only, and I was able to tie together a lot of my HGSE experiences into this one subject through the exercises and prompts offered in the course.

How has the pandemic shifted your views of education? 

TO: Seeing my friends (many of them teachers) and my former students (who are in high school or college) suddenly cut off from the physical, tangible, and social aspects of school pains me. Social distancing, as necessary as it is to fight the pandemic, is showing some I know how vital the human connections were in schools to the learning experience. Receiving ostensibly the same information through online media is simply not the same. My hope is that if and when “normal” operations resume, learners and teachers alike appreciate the human connections more and make use of the blessing that is to be able to be in physical community.