Graduating Senior Spotlight: Q&A with Yumi Kashihara

Headshot of Yumi Kashihara wearing a black long-sleeve shirt with trees in the background

Hometown: Mihama, Wakayama, Japan

Major: Geography

Minor: Sustainability Studies

Activities you are involved in: Geography Club

Did you participate in any student organizations, Learning Abroad programs, research or internship opportunities, or other related experiences? How have you learned from them?

I am a president of the Geography Club. In fall 2021 and spring 2022, through a community-engaged learning experience, I was a youth advisory council assistant for Friends of the Mississippi River (FMR). During summer 2022, I was a community engagement intern for the Locks and Dams Project for FMR, and I was a 100 Trees Initiative intern for Creative Enterprise Zone in fall 2022. These are all non-profit organizations in the Twin Cities. I discovered these opportunities through people I knew and the classes I took.

This semester, I am also conducting research on how climbers with different backgrounds have different experiences within climbing communities in the Twin Cities. I'm working with Professor Braun in the Department of Geography, Environment & Society, and this research is through a directed research course.

What is your favorite class that you took in CLA? Is there a professor that you particularly enjoyed working with? How did they prepare you for the next phase of your life?

I have too many of them! However, I would say GEOG 3401 - Environmental Systems and Global Change and GEOG 5563 - Advanced Geographic Information Science are my favorite classes. GEOG 3401 provided me with important knowledge on environmental systems when thinking about issues in climate change and allowed me to use various web applications that were great for my practical skill development. Lab assignments in GEOG 5563 are very challenging to me, but I have learned crucial GIS-related skills and have expanded my knowledge of GIS. 

How would you describe your time in your major?

The geography major provided me with many opportunities to think about and deal with problems in a way that I had never imagined. In particular, considering relationality when dealing with a problem is one thing I learned from almost all the geography courses. Connecting phenomena from geographical, socioeconomic, political, cultural, and ecological aspects helps me see a real problem and how to approach it.

It is a rather small major, so I could get to know many people and learn from them, which was my favorite part of being a geography major. People in geography have different focuses within the major including GIS, human geography, and environmental geography, to roughly categorize. I enjoyed what my friends in the same major were interested in and what they want to do in the future. 

What is your favorite study spot on campus?

I like to study at Mondale Hall, especially on Saturdays when there are only a few people! 

If you could be any member on a TV show, who would you be?

Maybe Robin Scherbatsky from How I Met Your Mother. I live as a "foreigner" (I am from Japan, Robin is from Canada) in the United States. She enjoys life here but also misses the culture of her home country sometimes. I was a tomboy, playing soccer and hanging out with boys every single day in elementary school. There are so many things I can relate to Robin and I see strikingly similar between her and me.

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