First-Year Journey: Misa Muranaka '25 Finds Community, Explores Psychology and Biology

Author: Shannon Rooney


Misa Muranaka '25 grew up with an interest in science. It was hard not to. Her mom is a science teacher, which meant science had a significant presence in her home. And that home was Honolulu, Hawaii, where Muranaka grew up surrounded by the beauty of the natural world.

She is an intended double major in biological sciences and psychology at Notre Dame and has plans to attend medical school after graduation. "I came in as a bio. major, but then I found that I am actually very interested in psychology as well and in seeing how the environment impacts human health," says Muranaka. 

Misa Muranaka '25 (back row, second from left) at the Hawaii Club luau

Muranaka, who is already dipping her toes in undergraduate research with a lab on campus, chose Notre Dame for both the excellent academics and the feeling of community on campus. When she received her offer of admission, she was still deciding which school to attend, but then people from the Notre Dame community began reaching out to her. From students and staff, Muranaka got a sense of the strong community feel on campus. 

"I liked that [Notre Dame] had good academics and research, but it was also that the students genuinely care for each other. It's not a super competitive environment. Everyone is just wanting to do their best and help each other and the world," says Muranaka. 

"I also like football," she laughs. Muranaka attended all the football games with friends this past fall. She has also gotten involved in other ways on campus, including joining the Hawaii Club, which has helped Muranaka carry a little bit of a sense of home with her here. 

Her favorite Notre Dame memory so far is of a  lūʻau (luau) hosted by the Hawaii Club this semester and attended by students, faculty, and people from the South Bend community. 

"It's just a really fun way for us to share our culture...there was a lot of dancing, good food, music. It was a fun time and I really got to bond with the people in Hawaii Club a lot more." 

Check out the video above to learn more about Misa Muranaka's first-year experience at Notre Dame, and learn more below. 


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