Haley Hayakawa ’24 has all the bases covered
Her fellow classmates think she’s playing Candy Crush on her laptop. But in actuality, Haley Hayakawa ’24 is eyeing her Google calendar, which is scattered with different colors, each representing a lab, class or work hours that she has committed to during the week.
When the California native is not in a class or lab, she’s out in left field, shagging flies as a member of the Women’s Softball team. And during the summer, Hayakawa was working 40 hours a week at the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s field office in Kapolei, where she participated in the “Honors Internship Program,” which only accepts a sliver two percent of all its applications.
“It was my first full-time job,” said the 22-year-old Forensic Science major. “It has been the best experience I’ve ever had; everybody there wants to be there, and they all want to help you.”
An avid softball player since the eighth grade, Hayakawa committed to Chaminade University when she was a junior in high school, the earliest a student athlete can officially commit to a Division I or Division II college.
“I was recruited by Division I and Division II schools, but some wouldn’t allow their recruits to participate in sports if they plan to major in a hard science because of all the required labs,” Hayakawa said. “Chaminade does, and it’s one of the reasons I chose to come here.”
She was also familiar with Chaminade’s Forensics Science program, which requires its students to complete a rigorous, 135-hour internship with such offices as the Honolulu Department of the Medical Examiner, police departments in Hawaii and Guam or the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command’s Central Identification Laboratory.
“During my junior year, I interned with the Medical Examiner Department, which gets involved with deaths as a result of violence, substance abuse, trauma, accidents or suicide, among other suspicious causes of death,” Hayakawa explained. “After reading some of the suicide notes, I was thankful to be stressed out because those notes helped put things in perspective for me.”
An ambitious go-getter from an early age, Hayakawa is the only child and holds high expectations from herself—and not her parents, Greg and Myra Hayakawa. In fact, her father often tells her “to be open to changes, and not everything happens as planned.”
“In my freshman year, all I could eye was being awarded summa cum laude, which requires a 3.96 GPA,” Hayakawa notes. “I’ve only had one B and that was in Organic Biochemistry, which lowered my 4.0 GPA to 3.96.”
Ironically, one of her two American Chemical Society awards was being recognized as the Most Outstanding Student in Organic Biochemistry—despite her B—and Most Outstanding Student in Forensic Chemistry, nominated by David Carter, Ph.D., Forensic Sciences director and professor.
“She also has minors in Biochemistry and Chemistry,” Carter says. “She is a stellar athlete on the softball team and she also works as one of our Forensic Sciences Laboratory Assistants.”
Hayakawa’s collegiate experience has certainly had its challenges. Her freshman year was during the height of COVID, which meant Hale Lokelani Residence Hall was in lockdown mode, limiting her interaction with fellow students except for her roommate Naomi Noguchi from Kauai. It was also her first time living away from home, and she couldn’t leave campus for three weeks. Meanwhile, the softball team couldn’t take to the gym and was forced to conduct its workouts via Zoom videos.
“My classes were from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays, which was crazy,” Hayakawa recalls. “I was so overwhelmed, and when I went home for the winter break, my parents asked if I was OK because I had lost 30 pounds.”
When she returned to campus in the spring, Hayakawa now had to juggle between her softball season and her studies, maintaining a batting average of .377—earning her the team’s batting champion— and a perfect 4.0 GPA.
“It’s easy to manage time, when your time is managed for you,” Hayakawa quips. “I’m all in … all the time.”
As she completes her final year as a Silversword, Hayakawa fondly reflects back on her time on Kalaepohaku campus, on the softball field, in the labs and with her friends. She already has future plans to attend graduate school, after having turned down a job offer with the FBI field office in Kapolei.
“I’ve always wanted to help the community through criminal justice,” says Hayakawa, who will graduate as summa cum laude, thus achieving her ultimate freshman goal. “I made the right decision to come to Chaminade, not only because of its small class sizes, but because I got to form relationships with my professors and formed new friendships.”