Omori’s educational journal has taken some turns

Makiko+Omori+will+be+this+spring+semester%E2%80%99s+student+graduation+speaker.
Back to Article
Back to Article

Omori’s educational journal has taken some turns

Makiko Omori will be this spring semester’s student graduation speaker.

Makiko Omori will be this spring semester’s student graduation speaker.

Betsy Osterberger

Makiko Omori will be this spring semester’s student graduation speaker.

Betsy Osterberger

Betsy Osterberger

Makiko Omori will be this spring semester’s student graduation speaker.

Fanta Sylla, Copy Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Makiko Omori has had an eventful semester. She just returned from a trip to Orlando, Fla., where Phi Theta Kappa’s international convention was held. Omori is the vice president of the Madison College chapter of the honor society, which was recognized with a distinguished chapter award.

Before Orlando, it was another major city, Washington D.C., that Makiko visited to be honored as the recipient of the New Century scholarship alongside 51 students from across the nation

If it seems like Omori moves a lot, it’s because she does. Change and movement characterize her life. Whether it is geographical location, culture, language or even academic career, she is driven by a desire to explore the world.

“I love meeting people and learning about new cultures. That makes me gain new perspectives about the world, and makes me understand how our society works,” she said.

One consistent theme in Omori’s life is food. The way people eat, and its effect on their lifestyle is one of her main concerns. During the fall semester of 2013, she led a campaign called “Keep It Fresh Keep it Simple,” promoting healthy eating on the campus. She will be transferring to UW-Madison next semester to study dietetics. This career choice only became obvious after exploring different career paths. She studied in a culinary school with a specialization in French bakery and worked for a bakery for two years in her native country of Japan. Feeling dissatisfied, she decided to move to Italy and studied linguistics at the University of Venice.

But no experience affected her change of career into dietetics more than seeing her parents struggling with cancer. Cancer had been a reality in her family since she was 15. It was her mother who was diagnosed first with breast cancer, and then her father who passed away in 2011. Her mother succumbed to her illness last summer.

“The whole journey from when I was 15, the fact that both of my parents had cancer and that they were fighting those cancers, affected me a lot,” she said. “It made me think of our health [and] realize how our health is important and how our lifestyle affects our health.”

Her father’s death coincided with another tragedy: Fukushima’s nuclear disaster. After this event happened, she volunteered in the disaster area of Ishinomaki, in the prefecture of Miyagi. This was another life-changing experience. She said that while she had lost her father, the local population experienced greater loss following the disaster.

It was also there that she met her boyfriend, Joel, who was from Wisconsin. He helped her figure out what she wanted to do as a career. She realized that she wanted to work with food, internationally while staying in touch with people. Soon, becoming a dietician appeared to be the obvious path.

Omori’s scholarly endeavors at Madison College are impressive. In the past year, she won two scholarships through Phi Theta Kappa: Coca Cola’s New Century scholarship and the Guistwhite scholarship. She also received of the Karen Roberts Student Life Leadership Award , the Intercultural Council Student Award for Inclusive Excellence in Ethnic Diversity andStudent Senate Merit Award.

Sakura Yamashita, a fellow member of Phi Theta Kappa, describes Omori as a precious friend, a strongly motivated woman with high standards.

“She is eager not only in her own growth but also in her fellow students’ growth. Her attitude toward studies, college involvement and work inspires me a lot. I definitely would not be able to get involved without her,” Yamashita said.

Omori’s successful career at Madison College started in the fall of 2011. Like most international students, she experienced the nervousness that comes with studying in a new country. The feeling didn’t last. Omori mentioned people like history instructor Jonathan Pollack, chemistry instructor Dr. Ken Walz and adviser Gretchen Rixie, who each made her feel welcome and confident about studying and pursuing her career.

Then of course there is Phi Theta Kappa. The honor society’s high standard helped her grow academically and professionally. For Renee Alfano, Phi Theta Kappa’s adviser, Makiko’s work ethics reflect those of the honor society.

“As the vice president of scholarship for Phi Theta Kappa, Makiko worked tirelessly sharing her knowledge of applying for scholarships with other students. She received the Karen Roberts Leadership Award last year which is the highest honor given to student leaders by the College.  Makiko is an amazing woman and I am so appreciative of the opportunity to work with her,” she said.

In a few days Omori will be standing in front of an assembly of blue-gowned graduating students to give her speech as the commencement speaker.

“I am nervous but also excited. I’m glad that I’ll have the chance to thank everyone who helped me,” she said.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email