Throughout high school, NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development junior Kenzo Kimura was interested in public speaking and debate. In fact, he coached elementary school students in his hometown of Parkland, Florida, as they prepared for local speech and debate tournaments. Because of his passion for speech, Kenzo originally planned to study politics or law. But coming to Steinhardt made him realize his goals could be a lot bigger.

NYU Steinhardt student Kenzo Kimura.

Finding Fulfillment in Research

A Dean’s Global Honors Seminar, Introduction to Global Issues in Nutrition, helped Kenzo recognize his passion for research. The course provided both an academic overview of nutrition and food policy and the opportunity to get direct research experience. With a focus on the intersection between science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and human interaction, the seminar encouraged him to keep learning and take advantage of everything a world-class research institution could offer.

Today, Kenzo’s Communicative Sciences and Disorders major on the prehealth track perfectly combines his interest in STEM research with his passion for public speaking. “Outside of my prehealth requirements, I took various courses relating to education, health, and different cultures,” Kenzo says. “And my honors thesis is on dismantling bias against non-English accents. I hope my research on speech perception will help tackle important issues, such as anti-immigrant discrimination in the 21st century.”

Building an Inspiring Community

Being able to perform leading-edge research at the juncture of two seemingly disparate topics isn’t something that every university offers. “Steinhardt is truly unique,” Kenzo affirms. “I have met so many talented peers who are aiming for a future as performers, health-care workers, academics, or corporate employees. One of my first-year roommates is a Music Technology major, and the idea that both of us are in the same school convinced me Steinhardt is limitless.”

That community cohesion across diverse backgrounds and demographics goes deeper than just academics. Kenzo is involved in numerous extracurricular activities, including NYU Phi Delta Epsilon, the international premed fraternity. Additionally, he’s class president and a resident assistant. “I’ve organized events like ice-skating, dessert tours, and trips to The Metropolitan Museum of Art,” Kenzo says. “But I am proudest of the representation I’ve provided at NYU. Being the child of Japanese Brazilian immigrants, my international residents have always felt more comfortable knowing there’s a student who can relate to them in another language and provide advice as an upper-level student. Making time and space for those conversations builds community just as much as big events do.”

Kenzo hopes to continue to build community and create spaces for representation out in the world next year. After graduation, he plans to attend medical school so he can continue his clinical research on human communication while building a career in the health-care profession.