Seems like my life in Hawaii was a long time ago. My name is Yuuki Justin Niimi and I am currently doing my Masters in Ocean Science at University of Southampton, United Kingdom. Living in UK is a whole new world for me: from the typical English accent to the lovely tea drinking culture, I personally think I made a great choice trying to study away from home. Currently, I am starting to write my proposal for my deep-sea taxonomy project. Overall, I am really lucky to study in Southampton since it has the National Oceanography Center. Many well-known oceanography scientists from UK come here to do research, which makes it a great place to meet scientists from similar fields. I am thankful for my experience and support UH gave me for me to be the person who I am.
Before coming to UH, I had a huge ambition with marine life. I always wanted to learn more about how marine organisms adapted in their ecosystem, especially in the extreme environments such as the deep sea and the polar regions. Almost every day of my childhood, I daydreamed about the mysterious and freaky world that was waiting to be discovered. When I entered UH, I realized that I needed to work hard to become a scientist. The first time I realized this was when I saw the grade for my first exam for Intro to Chemistry. I got a shockingly low score that in order to get an A, I needed perfect scores on the upcoming exams for the rest of the remaining semester. I needed that grade, so I trapped myself in the library to study hard to maintain my grade. As a result, my effort reflected greatly on getting accepted for my first lab position at UH during my freshman year. This was my starting point to become a scientist.
Even though my first lab did not focus on deep sea science, I got the know-how in working in the lab environment. My first lab was based on maintaining and feeding the plankton tank, but I also got to work on the core project of identifying predator-to-prey interactions using a slow motion camera. After working for two years in the plankton lab, I got a chance to join a lab at UH that focuses on deep sea ecology. In the lab, I got to do deep sea related projects with lead scientists in the field. I got to observe and touch many deep-sea animals through trawl samples and underwater imaging. My mentor was a great person and he taught me many skills that were necessary to be a scientist in this field. Everything I did was exciting as if I was being a role model to my younger self. I did my undergraduate project with this lab for two years and I truly gained invaluable experience. And my effort reflected on where I am today in the UK.