Aloha! My name is Shaley Yoshizu, and a recipient of the 2022 Paubox Kahikina STEM Scholarship. I am a recent graduate of Kamehameha Schools Kapālama. I am currently attending Penn State University for my undergrad education to study Immunology & Infectious Disease.
Mahalo a nui to the Paubox Kahikina STEM Scholarship for selecting me amongst other young Native Hawaiians in STEM to help me pursue my dreams! With this scholarship, I will be motivated to fulfill my desired education plan without concern about financial barriers. I can focus more on my incentives and studies that will benefit me soon.
My future career plan is to become a pediatric rheumatologist. I aspire to pursue this occupation as I have juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. If you may not know, a pediatric rheumatologist is a pediatrician who specializes in children with musculoskeletal diseases such as juvenile arthritis. At the time of my diagnosis at two years old, it appeared I had a severe adult form of the disease in my immune system. It has not been an easy journey, however, I do not let my physical disability be why I set limits upon myself. I was immobile to walk for a year and a half after being diagnosed. There was little hope that I'd be able to gain my mobility again. But, I was well able to prove my health wrong and only became much stronger over the years. I am now living in my healthiest physical and mental state with little to no joint pain! I've been through various medications and medical procedures throughout my life, and despite most of these not being so effective, it has expanded my knowledge about my health. I understand what it is like to endure childhood disease, and I want to be able to share my story with the younger generations who may experience similar conditions that I went through.
Once I complete my necessary education, I hope to come back home to Oʻahu to either open my clinic or take over my current pediatric rheumatologistʻs office. One of my main goals in pursuing pediatric rheumatology as a Native Hawaiian in STEM is to inspire future Hawaiians to dream big and prove that there is no such thing as a silly dream, regardless of how difficult it may seem. I believe there needs to be more recognition of Native Hawaiians in STEM as we are often under-represented in science fields. I also wish to incorporate Hawaiian healing methods into my practice which would be quite interesting to see. I hope that one day I will find a cure for arthritis with the knowledge I will and continue to gain!
Mahalo nui once again to the Paubox Kahikina STEM Scholarship for paving a pathway for me toward a step closer to my dream. I am excited to invite you all along my education journey! A hui hou.