Melissa Yokoyama, a senior at Maria Carrillo High School, has been a bowler since she was 4. "It has been a big family sport," she said. Press Democrat photo by Jeff Kan Lee

By BOB NORBERG
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Science is a big part of Maria Carrillo High School senior Melissa Yokoyama’s interests and fits her career goal to become a pharmacist.
“You learn about why something happens, why you do something, it explains what you see,” said Yokoyama, explaining her love of science. “It is something about life.”
She has applied to eight colleges but hopes to get into the University of the Pacific, which has a pre-pharmacy program, or UC Davis for its chemistry program.
Her goal is to become a pharmacist and to be involved in researching drugs to treat disease.
“I wanted to be a doctor, but I couldn’t deal with all the blood, so I decided that with pharmacy, you could save lives by finding out about drugs,” she said.
During her high school career, the 18-year-old has opened herself up to many of the activities and experiences that were available.
She was vice president of her freshman class and president of the sophomore class and a member of the Key Club.
With a 4.0 grade point average, she also is a member of the California Scholastic Federation.
“I love math — it is favorite subject — and I am taking calculus. I love my teacher,” Yokoyama said. “I am taking AP mathematics and AP calculus; they are pretty tough.”
Last year, Yokoyama was in the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce’s Tomorrow’s Leaders Today program.
“I loved it, it was such good experience,” she said. “It was eye-opening. You got to open your eyes to what is out there. You never usually get to go to City Hall. We went to see where our water is from, and to a homeless shelter. It opened my eyes to what Sonoma County really is.”
As part of that program, she volunteered at the Redwood Empire Food Bank, participated in Santa Rosa’s creek cleanup program and helped stage the city’s Easter Egg hunt last year at Howarth Park.
She is getting a taste of the medical field by working part time at Kenwood Hearing Solutions in Santa Rosa.
“I do clerical, filing, checking the hearing aids, things around the office, input audios into computer, look at the hearing aids to see what do what, the different kinds, it is really cool, she said. “I love working with doctors.”
She is also an avid bowler, participating in a weekly junior adult tournament, with a high score of 248.
“I have been bowling since I was 4. It has been a big family sport,” Yokoyama said. “My cousin, aunt, another cousin, my boyfriend bowl with me.”
Life now is also about just finishing her high school career.
“I am trying to get everything ready and prepared for the next stage of my life,” she said.

You can reach Staff Writer Bob Norberg at 521-5206 or bob.norberg@pressdemocrat.com.

Melissa Yokoyama
Age: 18
Family: Dad Mark, mother Julie, sister Kayla, pet cat Brandy
School: Senior at Maria Carrillo High School
Activities: Bowling, part-time work at Kenwood Hearing Solutions
Goal: Become a researcher in the pharmacy field.
Quote: “I wanted to be a doctor, but I couldn’t deal with all the blood, so I decided that with pharmacy, you could save lives by finding out about drugs.”