Mariko KomatsuChemistry and biology
Tokyo, Japan

Lab of Learning
One of Mariko’s English teachers at her Japanese high school had attended Northwestern and encouraged her to do the same. She appreciates the small classes and a campus environment that is conducive to both studying and socializing. She is involved with multicultural clubs on campus, including International Club and La Mosaic, and participates in the Future Physicians Club. Mariko is already applying to medical schools and hopes to become a physician.

An easy solution
I started at Northwestern with a biology major and chemistry minor, but during my sophomore year, a chemistry professor showed me it would be possible to major in both disciplines, and with careful scheduling, it worked perfectly. I’ve enjoyed chemistry since high school, so I’m glad it worked out.

Heart for healthcare
Someday I hope to work in an organization that provides medical treatment to people who cannot afford to see a doctor or don’t have healthcare readily available in their area. I want to be the kind of physician (and person) who empathizes with others’ pain, both physical and mental. I’m also interested in working with women who have been victims of sex trafficking—helping them heal and recover—especially after seeing Nefarious, a documentary about the problem that was shown on campus.

The relational element
Building relationships with professors is an important part of a Northwestern education. Since the faculty-to-student ratio is lower than at a large university, I have been able to build close relationships with my professors. When I first arrived, I didn’t imagine I’d visit their houses and be invited to have meals with them. I think that’s just amazing.

Mixing it up
At a school the size of Northwestern, students can be involved in a lot of things. I was a multicultural intern, and I’m president of the college’s International Club. All the different people I’ve met and things I’ve done have helped me grow. Through classes I’ve grown as a scientist, and through clubs I’ve learned the significance of diversity, patience, leadership, standing up to injustice, and the responsibilities that go along with leadership.

Strong bonds
One of the things I appreciate most about Northwestern is the friendships I’ve made. Coming from halfway around the world was tough for me, but I’ve met wonderful, precious friends without whom I wouldn’t be here. In my home culture, people don’t express themselves as openly as they do in this culture. At Northwestern I value being able to be myself and have open, honest conversation with friends—both, I’ve learned, are important for building relationships.