EVERETT — Kalani Taladoc, a Mariner High School senior, is an orchestra section leader, swim team captain, Japanese club president and member of National Honor Society and Key Club. She has a 3.9 GPA. She wants to go to the University of Washington.
Question: Your favorite class deals with biotech?
Answer: The knowledge that I’m learning is being applied in actual technology. That really sparks like, wow, this is so cool. It makes me feel more reassured that what I want to do is right for me, which is biomedical engineering.
Q: What is that?
Engineers who help out the medical field. One of the projects they do is 3D printing of organs. I want to do something along the lines of that. Or make a better body-machine interface for prosthetics.
I got interested by doing a robotics class and a program called ChickTech. I got to play around with circuits and I was (thinking), “This is so cool.” The ChickTech program opened me up to the many pathways for technology.
Q: How did your parents influence you?
A: My parents grew up on an island (Guam) and there weren’t many opportunities for them. They have always pushed me to do well in school and try new things. You can go for it and do it — that’s something my parents have been trying to hammer into me and I think I am finally having that click.
Whenever I feel overloaded with everything to do and I’m freaking out. They say, “It’s OK. You’ve been studying and doing well.”
Q: What do you do for fun?
A: Play my violin. My sister and I often like to play our instruments together. She plays cello. She likes to play a lot of pop and movie music. I like more of the classical stuff.
I also like to watch old classics, like “The Sound of Music.” I’m really into musicals. Or films like “Spirited Away” (a 2001 Japanese animated coming-of-age fantasy film).
Q: What’s your favorite store and why?
A: Costco. Because they have food samples and you can buy things in bulk and it’s cheaper.
Q: What are three things in your refrigerator?
A: Oranges. Juice. Tomatoes.
Q: Why did you choose Japanese?
A: Japanese culture is so interesting. I was interested in the historical and the traditional things, also the really cute things, too. They have cute little desserts called mochi.
Q: Why the violin?
A: My (grade school) teacher displayed a bunch of instruments: the band side and the violin side. One of the students asked her to play something on the violin and I thought it was so beautiful and I wanted to play just like that.
Q: Why swimming?
A: The doctor recommended physical activity. When I was younger, I took lessons. I was, OK, I can do this sport.
There was a swimmer on the team who inspired me. She was a state champion and her stroke was so beautiful and it made me pursue and commit to it. She’s swimming at a university now.
Q: What’s your best stroke?
A: The freestyle. I do the backstroke because we don’t have very many people on the team. I’m still a work in progress.
Q: Who do you want to influence?
A: The people in the Japanese club. I want to establish a community of people who love learning about the Japanese culture and trying new things.
The Japanese club spent a meeting making onigiri (rice balls) for a fundraiser. When you make these onigiri balls and you take a picture and send it to their website, the organization sends five meals to people in need. Another community project is getting a family in need and buying some gifts for them so they can have a happy Christmas.
Q: Have you been to Japan?
A: No, but it’s on my bucket list. I also want to go to New York. That’s all.