We understand that adjusting to college life may be difficult. In order to ease your transition, each of you will be assigned to a Student Orientation Leader (SOL). They are upperclassmen who are eager to help you in any way they can. They are looking forward to meeting you!

Daniela Soto

Daniela | Class of 2021

Hello Class of 2024! Welcome to Soka, I am so excited to meet you guys! My name is Daniela or Dani if you’d like. Home to me is Los Angeles, California and Michoacán, Mexico. I am currently a fourth year here at SUA and I am concentrating in International Studies with a focus on Latin American Relations. I also studied Japanese and just got back from my semester abroad in Osaka, Japan. I am currently Vice President of the affinity group Latines Unides — a group for students of Latinx heritage and/or students interested in learning more about the Latinx/Chicanx experience. I also work as a Spanish Tutor here at Soka so if you ever want to chat in Spanish, ¡aquí estoy!  

Now that you know a little about me I cannot wait to meet you all and for you to meet your classmates, class of 2024! The other SOLs and I are here to support you and make your transition into SUA life as amazing as possible. See you soon! 

Dhriti Sood

Dhriti | Class of 2022

My name is Dhriti Sood and I belong to the Class of 2022. I chose to come to Soka because of its liberal arts curriculum. I was determined that I wanted to study sociology before I came to Soka. However, when I got here I took a psychology class and fell in love with the subject. I was also lucky to be able to take classes out of my comfort zone such as ceramics (I am very bad at art) and song writing (I love writing poetry).

When I first came to Soka, I struggled to adjust and make friends, but through the continuous encouragement of everyone around me and my efforts to overcome my own limitations I was able to make so many friends. Soka challenged me to become a person of integrity and made me savor the smallest of joys. I am currently a part of Ghungroo, the Indian Dance club at Soka and I truly enjoy every practice because it helps me feel close to my culture despite being so far away from home.

Lastly, I decided to become an SOL because my SOL was my first friend at Soka and she always motivated me to become the best version of myself. I love the beach, mountains and ice cream, so if you love any of these feel free to talk to me about it! 

Student wearing yellow sweater smiling at camera

Emi | Class of 2023

Hi friends! And welcome to SUA!! It is my great pleasure to welcome the class of 2024, and I have been so excited to see you all and kick off the new journey at Soka together! I’m Emi Kuroda from class of 2023. I was born and raised in Osaka, Japan. A couple things I love to do (almost obsessed with): eating, talking, challenging myself to take beautiful photos with my phone, and last but not least, LISTENING to people’s stories!! Listening has been a beautiful and significant part of my learning process at Soka as it allows me to dive into different people with diverse backgrounds and cultures. Listening to people and their stories also empowers me and broadens my perspective to be able to see what I couldn’t see before.

I can’t wait to get to know you all, and please don’t hesitate to reach out and share your beautiful experiences and thoughts with me! You can see me as an infinitely huge sponge that is always willing to soak up anything because each one of you matters and is precious. Your story is as beautiful as your existence!! 

Student wearing blue shirt smiling at camera

Hamza | Class of 2023

Hello Class of 2024! My name is Hamza Ibrahim and I’m a second-year student from Accra, Ghana. I’m so excited to meet all of you and help you navigate through Soka for your first couple of months here. There’s so much to do at Soka and so many interesting, lovely, wonderful, amazing, unique people to meet.

A couple of things about me: I’m interested in International Studies, Economics and Business. I love to write poetry and have had the chance to perform a few times here at SUA. I also love debating and I’ve been a part of Model UN since I got here. I went to a conference in LA in the fall and was supposed to go to Rome in the spring, but it got postponed. I’m part of Soka men’s track and field team and I admire how much we push each other on the team.

Fun facts: I watch Trevor Noah’s Daily Show almost every day while eating a bowl of ramen or munching on a slice of Costco’s pizza. I also just discovered the soundtrack from the movie “The Greatest Showman” and I’ve been playing that for a month now. I love R&B, but I also adore Afro beats, so my playlist has an upbeat downbeat vibe. I’ve watched all 15 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy. Also, I’ve been in love with Indian food since I came here. One final thing I would like to tell you guys (and this is important): Relax, you’ve got this!  

Student wearing black dress smiling at camera

Kayoko | Class of 2023 

Hey Class of 2024! My name is Kayoko Mayede. I am part of the Class of 2023. I go by she/her pronouns, I am the eldest and the shortest of two sisters and I was born and raised in a small city called New Westminster in British Columbia, Canada (which is on the outskirts of Vancouver). I am currently taking Spanish at Soka, and I am planning to concentrate in Social and Behavioral Sciences. I have been looking forward to meeting, learning, and getting to know all of you since I became an SOL.

Some other facts about me are that I am a movie enthusiast (mainly horror), I have a strong passion for volleyball (so please play with me), and I am a fourth-generation Japanese-Canadian. I also have an interest in sports in general, but you’ll most likely catch me watching volleyball and ice-hockey matches. If you’re interested in either, please talk to me about your favorite team(s) and whatnot! Again, I am super excited to meet you all and to learn more about you! If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to talk to me~! 

Student holding cup smiling at camera

Kennedi | Class of 2021

Welcome Class of 2024! 

My name is Kennedi!! I’m from Sacramento, CA, and I’m a fourth year. I come from a mixed family background of Mexican/African American and I can say that the cultures I grew up with heavily influence my interests. For that reason I was BSU secretary last semester and am in the SBS concentration (Social and Behavioral Sciences). I am someone who is really into social justice and activism, and have a lot to learn and share!!  

I am also someone who really loves music! Artists like Megan Thee Stallion, One Direction, The 1975, and Bad Bunny are some of my favorites! I love all kinds of music/dancing and am so interested in sharing and learning more kinds of music and dance. 

Fun fact about me: I was the first Soka student to study abroad in Cuba!! If you want to know more about Cuba/speak Spanish with me, then don’t be afraid to start a conversation! 

I’m so excited to meet you all and get to know you over the next semester. I can’t wait to be an amazing SOL/friend for you all!!! 

Student in lilac dress smiling at camera

Maxine | Class of 2022

Hi, Class of 2024! My name is Maxine Xu, and I am so excited to be one of your Student Orientation Leaders. I was born and raised in Orange County, California, so if you need food, entertainment, or boba recommendations, feel free to ask! I am a junior concentrating in International Studies with a specific interest in economics, and I’m planning on studying abroad in Spain during the spring semester. At SUA, I am a member of Project 39, an urban dance club, CounterBalance, a contemporary dance club, and Bridges to Business, an extracurricular business program.

In my free time, I’m usually dancing, hanging out with friends, at the beach, or watching cheesy romantic comedies. If you see me around campus with my headphones in, I’m most likely grooving to  Jhené  Aiko, Chris Brown, Drake, or NIKI. My favorite thing about  Soka, apart from the Thai tea with  boba  at the  Sokafe, is the close-knit community. No matter the challenge, I know that I have friends at  Soka  who support me and cheer me on. I hope to be one of your biggest cheerleaders as you take on this exciting new chapter. I look forward to meeting all of you! 

Student in multicolor sweater smiling at camera

Pablo | Class of 2023

Hi! My name is Pablo Zavala-Reina, and I am delighted to be a Student Orientation Leader (SOL) for the class of 2024! I am from Quito, Ecuador, and I am in the class of 2023, planning to concentrate in International Studies. Welcome to this new stage of your life! You might be carrying uncertainty that we all have to go through, but don’t worry. I will do my best to guide you through!

Some of you might expect college life as something overwhelming and fearful. I can say that it is very challenging, but at the same time, it is full of joy and growth. I believe that each of you has unlimited potential to overcome the challenges that will make you stronger, and I will always be there to help you out in whatever way! And, you will meet many amazing people here who you will treasure for life. It is a rewarding new stage that you will enjoy and achieve your highest potential! Academics, friends, and diversity are what make Soka University. Now, you are an essential component of this campus! Let’s create our university together!

Student in jeans and a green jacket smiling at camera

Vibhu | Class of 2022

Welcome to our university, Class of 2024! Namaste, my name is Vibhu, and I am part of the Class of 2022. I come from the town of Kurukshetra, India. And yes, that is where Mahabharata was fought. I love comedy, marketing, and philosophy. I have great respect for any writer from a diarist to an academician. My favorite writers are Jerry Seinfeld, Steve Martin, and Munshi Premchand. If you are remotely interested in writing for an audience, you have at least one chum at SUA.

I cannot wait to meet every one of you and walk you through life at our little home, Soka University of America. It does indeed take a special person to choose SUA, and I congratulate you on your acceptance.