Future food scientist Hirono Kamon to carry CAHNRS banner at fall ’22 commencement

Hirono Kamon Sensory lab
Hirono Kamon, fall 2022 gonfalon bearer for the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences, pictured at the School of Food Sciences’ sensory evaluation lab.

Graduating early with her degree in food science, Hirono Kamon will carry the banner of the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences during WSU’s fall commencement ceremony, Dec. 10, 2022.

The honor of gonfalon bearer, given to one outstanding senior from each college every semester, is the newest experience for the senior, who will move to Japan next spring to begin her career in research and development at a major spice company.

“I’m so excited and thankful to have this opportunity,” said Kamon, who moved to the U.S. from Yokohama, Japan, as a teenager, attending high school in Pennsylvania. After her parents returned to Japan, Kamon stayed to pursue a university education, following her interest in the minute, microorganism-powered world of fermented foods and beverages.

“You’re using microbes, which I had thought you’re not supposed to eat, to make foods,” she said.

Kamon explored that world in the classrooms and labs of WSU’s School of Food Science.

“I’m really glad that I chose Pullman for my college life,” she said. The tight-knit community setting helped her focus and succeed, and Kamon has strived to maintain an “A” grade average, particularly enjoying classes in food microbiology and sensory evaluation of food and wine.

For the past 18 months, she has put classroom knowledge to work as a production and dairy technician at the WSU Creamery.

“Working in the Creamery has been very practical,” Kamon said. “It’s been a major part of my education. I’ve learned about pasteurization, R&D, and how to make foods.”

Cheese happens to be her favorite fermented food, and her top flavors are the original Cougar Gold, with WSU’s Dill Garlic cheese a close second.

Hirono Kamon Food Science lab
Hirono Kamon, senior in the School of Food Science, put classroom and lab learning to work at the WSU Creamery. She will carry the gonfalon of CAHNRS in the fall 2022 WSU commencement ceremony.

“My dream is to one day become a winemaker,” Kamon said. “I want to let the world know about the high quality of Japanese wines.”

Kamon was nominated for the role of gonfalon bearer by Food Science faculty and staff, who say she has consistently proved herself an exceptional learner.

“Hirono has been able to pick up concepts quickly and apply food science to solve real-world problems,” commented Teaching Assistant Professor Thuy Bernhard. “She’s been very proactive in seeking help and clarification. She’s a promising future food scientist.”

Kamon’s advice to fellow students is a method that she diligently follows: Never procrastinate.

“Start your assignments early,” she said. “I’ve always done things ahead of time; that way, I can ask questions when I need to know something. Don’t do things last minute.”