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Meet Mikako Harata

Mikako HarataHometown: Iowa City, Iowa

Undergraduate Institution: University of Rochester

Undergraduate Major: Brain and Cognitive Sciences

Mikako Harata was inspired to become a physician when she saw the passion and sacrifice physicians in her hometown were willing to make during a time of devastation. She is committed to becoming the same type of doctor she saw during those times.

Get to know Mikako and what she is looking forward to over the next four years.

Why do you want to be a physician?

I was 16 years old when the internet started flooding with articles about an incapacitating earthquake viciously shaking the streets of the Tohoku region of Japan, followed shortly by a massive tsunami engulfing my hometown. All phone lines wired through Japan ceased to function during this state of emergency, preventing my family from communicating with our relatives during four of the most panic-stricken days of my life to date. In the aftermath of the 15-meter tsunami that left my mother’s cousin with PTSD and claimed the life of numerous relatives, the nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant forced thousands of families to evacuate the prefecture to avoid radiation damage.

Among them were physicians like my uncle, who faced the dilemma of choosing between his own personal safety and staying within radiation zones to help the remaining survivors. Despite the risks, my uncle chose to stay. Learning about his efforts, I realized the weight of the contribution an individual can make in a joint effort to fight back against a large-scale natural disaster. The commitment, sacrifice, and compassion displayed by physicians were pivotal in strengthening my motivation to pursue my dream of becoming a physician. I also felt an overwhelming sense of urgency to pursue the same route as the physicians who rushed to the aid of thousands in times of great distress and disarray.

Why did you decide to come to the Carver College of Medicine?

Proximity to family, exceptional medical facilities, collaborative learning environment, and diversity in student body.

What are you looking forward to most about medical school?

Finding a specific passion of mine in the study of the human body, and then delving deeper by committing to a specialty. Additionally, during M1 orientation, meeting a vast diversity in peers who are coming together to achieve similar goals was exciting and gave me a sense of place.

What advice would you give to those currently applying to medical school?

Continue to apply yourself in your extracurricular activities such as volunteering and research, especially after submitting the primary and secondary applications. The application process will challenge applicants to introspect on their career goals as well as personal qualities that brought them to where they are now.   

Top reason you chose Iowa for medical school?

Collaborative learning environment

What are some of your personal interests?

Swimming, eating, and basic research.

Meet some more new students.