Student Spotlight - Yuma Miyake
You might expect a Bay Area native to end up at one of the more northern University of California campuses. But this biology major’s search for the perfect-to-him university, which needed to offer diverse research opportunities, brought him down the California coast and inland to UC Riverside. An aspiring physician, Miyake can pinpoint the start of his interest in the medical field to the second grade — when he was playing catch with his dad and ran into a wall, splitting his head open. As Miyake looked up at the doctor who was stitching his bloody injury, he recalls thinking to himself, “Wow. This is so cool. I want to try that.” This passion continued to grow as he witnessed his mother’s struggle with high blood pressure, and he aims to focus his medical career on improving cardiovascular health.
Natural Born Caregiver
Miyake’s undergraduate research includes work with the UC San Francisco Smith Cardiovascular Research Institute studying cardiomyocyte differentiation, Dr. David Rosenbaum’s psychology lab at UCR studying human gait and motor coordination, and Dr. Changcheng Zhou’s lab at UCR’s School of Medicine studying cardiovascular diseases. His medical experience includes working as an ambassador and advisory committee member for the UCR Health Professions Advising Center and as a patient care technician at Riverside Community Hospital, where he assists with cardiograms, injections, checking vital signs, and rehabilitation. Although a lot of work packed into three years, Miyake believes he’s “born to do this!”
Miyake started playing the violin at 4 years old, perfecting songs like Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor and Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D major over the past 16 years. Now, he moonlights as a private tutor for aspiring violinists. His favorite takeaway as a music instructor is honing how to break down concepts for his students. He’s all about getting to know the students, understanding how they process things, and then speaking a similar learning-language. He also uses this skill as a supplemental instructor at UCR’s Academic Resource Center, where he tutors chemistry. Miyake said if he doesn’t become a doctor, he’ll teach. “I love guiding people to full concepts,” he said.
Harboring a lifelong love for soccer, Miyake knew he wanted the field to be part of his university experience. But he also knew he couldn’t devote the time needed to play on UCR’s Division I soccer team while pursuing his ambitious academic and career goals. He joined the Men’s Soccer Club at UCR, a student organization that allows Miyake to commit only five hours a week to feed his competitive nature. During practice at Glen Mor Upper Fields, you’ll likely hear his teammates calling him by his nickname “Yums” — pronounced yooms. It might sound something like, “Another goaaaaaaaaal for Yooooooooooooms!”
Miyake’s biggest accomplishment as a Highlander accompanies the saddest time of his life. Last summer, he scored 98% on the Medical College Admission Test, or MCAT, but did it while grieving the loss of his childhood best friend, Hiro. The characteristic that makes Miyake an ideal future doctor — empathy — almost took him down. Experiencing this loss, alongside his own family and Hiro’s, brought him to a standstill during a crucial point in his medical pursuits. But he worked through the heartbreak and went into “full grind mode,” spending the summer studying six days a week for nine hours a day. Miyake plans to develop free MCAT resources for UCR students before graduating with the class of 2023 — a gift to the campus marked by the memory of his friend.
Author: Malinn Loeung | Photo: Stan Lim