Hiromi first realized how much fun science could be in her sophomore year of high school. She had an amazing teacher with a contagious passion for chemistry. Mr. Root’s lessons were everything but ordinary, and every class was filled with laughter as well as a whole lot of learning. She still remembers how he always played “Celebration" by Kool & The Gang every time there was a test. He would always say that “a test is a celebration of knowledge, not a punishment”. This teacher was also able to incorporate colorful and exciting demos and turn a possibly mundane AP Chemistry class to an enjoyable one. This positive experience played a major role in her view towards science. When coming to the university, Hiromi wanted to share her newly found love for science with others. As a first-generation student, outreach and service has always been something of value to Hiromi. This was one of the main reasons why she joined the Biochemistry Club. The club focuses on outreach and the free science camp that the Biochemistry Club offers to middle school students resonated with her goal to provide opportunities to others that she herself didn't experience growing up.
Hiromi likes to dedicate her free time to volunteering or spreading her passion for science. On Wednesdays, she volunteers at the Boys and Girls Club to play science-themed games with the kids while they wait for their parents. This informal approach to learning allows the kids to explore scientific topics without the stress of grades providing constant critical feedback. Hiromi wants the kids to know that science is something fun, not unreachable or difficult. Hiromi also volunteers at Banner Hospital, where she has been in the Cardiology Department, Child Life as well as the Emergency Department. There she interacts with patients from all backgrounds and ages. However, Child Life was the most memorable. Hiromi stated, “even though volunteering in that department was emotionally draining, when I hear their vibrant contagious laughter when we play games, color or whatever, all the drowsiness from the week and all the negative energy is forgotten. I was there with them and in that moment and we were just happy. Often times, these kids are frequent fliers who were constantly being checked in and checked out, only to realize that they have to be checked back in a couple weeks later. The hospital is their home away from home and if I do my job just right, I am able to make it a comfortable home rather than a scary one. I am there to read to them when their parents are at work, I provide toys that they can play with, or bring them their favorite Oreo thins. I am there to help them remember that they are kids. When I am around, they are not patients; they are simply 7 year olds.”