Yumi Mizobuchi


Honolulu, Hawaii; Rye, New York

Academic Interests

Chemistry & Environmental Science and Policy

Fun Fact

I wear the same necklace every day

During my freshman year of high school, I read Tatiana Schlossberg's novel "Inconspicuous Consumption," which forever changed the trajectory of my life. Schlossberg delved into the profound environmental repercussions of ubiquitous items, emphasizing the need to address these issues holistically rather than as isolated incidents. While her descriptions initially evoked hopelessness and apathy, her exploration of the fast fashion industry resonated deeply with me, prompting me to conduct independent research during my sophomore year. My research focused on the detrimental impact of chemical textile dyes on the health of rivers and of those residing near textile factories. I took a biomimetic and sustainable approach to replace these chemical dyes, known as structural coloration. I synthesized nanoparticle structures on textiles capable of reflecting color, eliminating the reliance on hazardous chemicals. I hope to someday apply my research to toxic paints, especially since oil and acrylic painting is one of my greatest hobbies. At Duke, my aspiration is to further advance and conclude my research while actively contributing to other research within the field of chemistry that prioritize the environment. I aim to pursue a dual degree in Environmental Science and Policy and Chemistry with a concentration in Environmental Chemistry. 

Beyond my research endeavors, my commitment to sustainability extended to my roles as President of the Sustainability Club, where I oversaw sustainable agricultural practices in a rooftop garden, and as the Outreach Coordinator of the Hawaii Youth Climate Coalition, where I engaged in environmental activism. These passions will continue to flourish as a part of the Duke Climate Coalition and the Undergraduate Environmental Union. 

Duke presents the ideal platform on which I hope to continue embracing the opportunity to further cultivate my current passions while contributing to a brighter, more sustainable future.

What do you like about being a SPIRE Fellow?

There are many good things at Duke, but some of the most notable things include the professors and the campus. All of my professors clearly love what they teach, each with their own fascinating research. The campus, both east and west, is exceptionally beautiful, particularly as we transition into fall. From volleyball games to movie nights and puppy yoga, the campus is always bustling with something interesting – there is never a boring day here!

Yumi Mizobuchi
Yumi Mizobuchi