Tomoya Hori graduated from the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in marine science. He was born in Osaka, Japan and mostly raised in Nara, but today he is a doctoral student in animal ecology at Kyoto University, conducting research on fish using informatic devices such as signal transmitters.
Hori also represents UH Hilo at college fairs, answering questions from prospective students in Japan about pursuing higher education on Hawai‘i Island.
What surprised you about studying at UH Hilo?
Of course, I had language problems in classes, but I was surprised at American students’ discussion skills beyond that. It was not easy to participate in group discussions for the first two years since I didn’t have this kind of classwork in high school in my country.
Also, it was surprisingly cold in UH Hilo classrooms, often causing me to catch a cold!
What do you miss most about Hilo?
After terrible periods like hell week
s before final exams, a relaxing lunch with a poke bowl from Suisan at Coconut Island was my favorite time in Hilo. I miss it so much now.
When you speak to prospective students, what question do they ask you most frequently?
Many ask me how they can get a job in the U.S., and whether entering UH Hilo is good for this purpose. I cannot give them an exact answer, but I suggest that studying in Hilo could be the first stage in advancing, step by step, to their goals.
What was your favorite order at Ken's House of Pancakes?
I sometimes miss the Chef’s Choice omelette with pancakes, since it was the first American-sized food I ate in Hilo. Also the Sumoloco. It was my short-term friend in stressful days writing my senior thesis!