Seoul National University Alumni Association in Chicago

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Annual SNUAA Chicago Scholarship
2020 Scholarship Recipients


Each of the following recipients will be awarded with $2,000 scholarship
by SNUAA Chicago President
Yoon Il Chang ȸ.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the scholarship check will be mailed to the recipients.

SNUAA Chicago  Scholarship Recipients

Minki Kim

University of Michigan Mechanical Engineering & Scientific Computing
(Received B.S. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from SNU)
Sanghee Kim
  Univ of Chicago  Linquistics
(Received M.A. in English Language and Literature from SNU)
Amber Kim
Massachusetts Institute of Technology City Planning MS
Abigail Lee
 University of Chicago Astrophysics Ph.D
Eunice Yoon
California Institute of Technology Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering B.S.
Seungmin Lee
Michigan State University Kinesiology
(Received M.A. in Physical Education from SNU)
Daniel Kim

Illinois Institute of Technology Civil Engineering M.S.
Jonathan Lee

Stanford University Economics B.A.
Lauren Jung

Cornell University Food Science w/ emphasis in Business Operations Management B.S.
Sunny Park

Midwestern University Pharmacy Doctor of Pharmacy
Sora Heo

University of California, San Diego International Studies - Economisc/Arabic minor B.A..

Jiwhey Chung Scholarship recipients

(About the Jiwhey Chung Scholarship)

Lauren Kim
Harvard University Bioengineering, Chemistry B.S.
Christine Ha

Ohio State University Biochemistry B.S.

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Minki Kim (α)

“During my undergraduate study at Seoul National University, I had a great privilege to be inspired by SNU alumni who are now global leaders in various fields and to be mentored by leading professors in Korea and passionate colleagues in SNU. Desiring to follow their trajectories, I was motivated to broaden my perspective on the engineering research and with endless support from mentors, I started my Ph.D. study in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan in 2016. I sincerely appreciate SNU Alumni Association in Chicago for granting the scholarship to aspiring students, which not only provides funding but also gives an opportunity for students to hear and learn invaluable experiences from SNUAA alumni, to get involved in SNUAA community, and to get a chance to communicate with other talented scholarship recipients.”

Sanghee Kim ()

“My ultimate goal is to share and popularize fascinating aspects of human language with the public. We might have asked ourselves, “How does a seven-year-old girl in my neighbor speak three languages when I cannot master a single ‘r’ sound in English?” or “How do we speak language so effortlessly when we were not able to comprehend a single word or produce a meaningful sound as a toddler?” or “What makes me think that someone is speaking politically?” While theoretical explanations to these questions abound in the academic journal papers, it is difficult to understand the theoretical accounts without having any background knowledge in linguistics. I aim to serve as a “linguistics interpreter,” who explains theories and important findings in linguistics to non-linguists in layman’s terms in a fun and easy way. With the goal of becoming a linguistics interpreter, I also work on understanding other fields that can be linked to linguistics. I attempt to build connections between linguistics and psychology, computer science, and cognitive neuroscience, in specific.”

Amber Kim (迵)

“In many ways, I achieved exactly what I had wanted for so long – I was in the trenches of policymaking and advocacy, quickly reaching the position of Policy Director at the Waste Reuse Association. Nevertheless, I did not feel fulfilled. Working on high-level policies and political goals on the timescale of years, I felt removed from the on-the-grounds progress being made across the country. I wanted to see and be part of the projects being implemented. After sitting with this feeling for a few years, I decided to pursue a career shift to become an environmental planner working on climate change at the city or regional level. As a Korean-American woman who grew up in the Chicago area, I would be especially proud to receive a scholarship from an organization such as the SNUAA-Chicago that seeks to support the development of Korean students. I believe this mission is critical to ensuring the continuation of a strong Korean community in the Chicago area.”

Abigail Lee ()

“I first became interested in astrophysics through classes during my undergrad at the University of Pennsylvania. I decided I wanted to pursue opportunities in astrophysics research, so I applied to be and worked as an intern at the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab. I then spent a month abroad studying black holes as a research assistant at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Germany. It was there that I first became interested in research in cosmology, the science of the origin, evolution, and eventual fate of the universe. Throughout my diverse research experiences, I have enjoyed studying astrophysics because of its potential to better understand two of humankind’s deepest questions: How did the universe come to be, and what does the future hold? These questions inspire and motivate my current research and future research goals. After I graduate from my Ph.D., I am excited about the opportunity to pursue a career as a University Professor.”

Eunice Yoon (ä)

“Being part of the first generation in my family that will graduate with a college degree, I am grateful for those who came before me, working hard every day despite the challenges. Receiving this scholarship will contribute to financing my higher education at Caltech and enabling my technical career aspirations. Additionally, it will highlight my Korean heritage and reflect on my parents’ experiences of immigrating to and settling down in the Chicagoland area. Being awarded this scholarship means so much because what the Seoul National University Alumni Association in Chicago stands for is ultimately the foundation for who I am today. I am thankful for how the association takes an extra step to encourage Korean-American students and am excited to be a recipient of the scholarship award.”

Seungmin Lee (̽¹)

“In studying Sport and Exercise Psychology in the master’s program of Sport Science at Seoul National University in 2012, I became convinced of the importance of research work for the enhancement of public health and quality of life through physical activity. I decided to study for a doctoral degree at Michigan State University, to guide my future academic achievements and productivity. Since being admitted to MSU, I have dedicated myself to physical activity studies, including physical activity intervention review study, exploratory physical activity intervention study, and physical education study. The goal of my research is to enhance people’s quality of life through physical activity. This has motivated me to continue my further study in the doctoral program of Kinesiology at MSU, where I can achieve this dream. The SNUAA-Chicago Scholarship would provide me with an opportunity to reach my full potential and make important contributions to individual’s well-being and physical activity.”

Daniel Kim ()

“My experience as a Korean-American is one made by the sacrifices and generosity of others. Had it not been for the sacrifices of my immigrant parents, the support of local communities, or grants from even strangers alike, the wealth of opportunity I enjoy today would not be so broad. I, therefore, do not take for granted the support that I’ve received, and likewise, am honored to have been selected as a 2020 SNUAA Chicago Scholarship recipient. I intend to pay forward those who have uplifted me and aspire to attend to the needs of others especially when it is within my power to act. With this scholarship, I plan to maximize my capacity to serve by pursuing a civil engineering master’s from the Illinois Institute of Technology. As a civil engineer, I will take advantage of both my analytical skills and my passions for creative design to most effectively help improve the standards of living in underprivileged neighborhoods and encourage economic mobility in neglected communities. I am ready for the challenges that this opportunity opens for me and will be confident in my contributions to realworld solutions. For all that I gain from even this scholarship opportunity alone, I will commit to investing into others, and I will pursue to be integral in the hopeful trajectory of our world."

Jonathan Lee (̿)

“My journey to discovering my passion for social business began with On the Money (OTM) magazine, a nonprofit organization that publishes a financial literacy and entrepreneurship magazine for 9,000+ low-income youth in Chicago. As President, I led a community of interns who were determined to use effective business practices for revitalizing our neighborhoods. I created financial literacy workshops, spoke at conferences, and created curricula for schools. I spearheaded impactful projects, such as partnering with a non-profit digital media group to design financial literacy modules that former Mayor Rahm Emanuel used to train 32,000+ youth during his annual ‘One Summer Chicago’ internship program. Designing these literacy modules showed me the importance of improving access to education for our historically under-resourced youth. Inspired by what I learned from OTM, I entered my freshman year at Stanford eager to improve access to education and further explore social business. I applied to and joined the Stanford Social Entrepreneurial Students Association, Stanford’s premier social entrepreneurial student organization. I joined as marketing manager and was responsible for our social media platforms and website, creating marketing materials, and promoting our events and initiatives. I grew our event attendance by 40% and our social media presence by 15%. Most importantly, I saw expanding interest in social entrepreneurship from our student body.”

Lauren Jung (ȸ)

“My aspiration in life is to have a positive impact on global sustainability, nutrition, and affordability via food. This past summer I worked for an international company, Unilever, and was able to verify that this was my passion for the field. As a Food Science major, my love and appreciation for food stems back to my childhood. My first interaction in this field was in the sixth grade through my participation in Science Olympiad. I recall being fascinated and astonished at the scientific complexity that went into a single of Cheez-it. It led me to appreciate and respect all the laborious work that went behind each product. My parents were both workaholics and always worked ridiculously long hours. This left me the responsibility of taking care of my brother, who is six years younger than me. This included the challenge of cooking a meal for him in the kitchen. This was when I first started experimenting in the kitchen and relied heavily on brands that assisted my cooking such as Knorr and Korean brands such as ѱ. These became a household staple for us. Without the food scientists who touched these brands, I would have never been able to get to the place that I am today. Out of my thankful heart I would love the chance to give back and further advance findings and technologies.”

Sunny Park (ڼ)

“My long term aspiration in life is to become a hospital pharmacist. As a pharmacist, I know that I can work directly with patients to help them get better. Rather than sitting behind a computer screen all day making phone calls, I would rather interact with patients and discuss with them about any illnesses or diseases they suffer from. Additionally, I want to assure that the drugs prescribed by physicians are the most suitable and the most optimal for the patients. Another guaranteed reward that pharmacists receive is opportunity, something I value profoundly. Opportunities allow me to live my life to its full potential, taking advantage of what they provide. Not only do pharmacists get career path opportunities, such as patient care, scientific research, counseling, or consulting, but the social and cultural aspects are included as well. As a future pharmacist, I am adamant that I will receive many more experiences. Each experience will give me more knowledge about pharmacy, medicine, and even social interactions. I wish to develop interpersonal skills, analytical strategies, and a keen eye for small details. In my future occupation, I hope to be trusted by my patients, respected by my community, and knowledgeable on different drugs. My innate curiosity of chemistry drives me to become a pharmacist despite the hardships that this path holds. My dream is to advise patients to get the help they deserve, and possibly make a change in people’s lives no matter how big or small. The journey of life is hard for everyone, but worthy for those willing to take chances with an optimistic mindset.”  

Sora Heo (Ҷ)

“Through a college volunteering program, I fostered relationships with Palestinian refugees in the San Diego area. I was vaguely familiar with the Israel and Palestine conflict, yet their words illustrated their plight viscerally. My encounter with refugees did not end there. When I came home for winter break, my parents invited me to a church event in Chicago where I was able to listen to a North Korean defector speak about her disheartening realities: separation from family, trafficking, relentless battles for survival, to name a few. Crossing the DMZ is the riskiest and most fearful endeavor anyone can take on, but hope on the other side speaks to many, she said. These vibrant bonds prompted an epiphany: their plight was a byproduct of the lack of diplomacy and active resolution among modes of governance. This ignited a flame in me: more than ever, diplomacy is critical. Diplomats are granted the task to create, preserve, and repair relationships between nation states by engaging in complex dialogues and negotiations. I see being a diplomat as an invaluable opportunity to understand different cultures along with the complexity of life in other nations. To me, diplomacy is empathy. In the future, I aspire to become a change-maker through foreign service, impacting policy to reflect globalism and basic empathy. In our own Korean community, I am inspired by former UN secretary general Ban Ki Moon who has been a proponent of peace on the world stage, reminding us that we are all citizens of the world.”


Jiwhey Chung Scholarship recipient

(About the Jiwhey Chung Scholarship)

Lauren Kim (ä)

“Growing up, my grandmother’s storytelling unknowingly planted the seed that blossomed into my curiosity for neuroscience and appreciation for service. So when my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, it seemed impossible, almost unreal. I found myself in a frustrated fit of tears and emotions as an earthquake of disbelief shattered the relationship I had valued so dearly my entire life. Even though I had no idea where it would take me, I was excited to tackle this electrical roller coaster of neurotransmitters and behavior. Through a partnership with Chicago Methodist Senior Services, I trained to become an art and music therapist for dementia patients and led a program at school called Bringing Art to Life. Implementing my new knowledge with my grandmother, I watched as shimmering flowers revived bits of her old personality, complete with messy CrayPas hands and a passion for twilight music. When she titled her favorite painting ‘Storytime’ after a year of therapy, I felt an inexpressible wave of emotions rushing through my veins. She hadn’t let mental illness dominate her character -- she was still my grandmother, her heart sitting by the crackling fireplace in loving remembrance of the stories we’d once shared together.”

Christine Ha ()

“In the past two years I have served twice on missions in Santo Domingo, Mexico, full of gorgeous pueblos and the kindest people. During the trip, we encountered locals beyond the innocent, bubbly children we primarily have worked with. But whether it applied to rowdy teenagers or ill older men, I recognized the overflowing amount of joy that they had in life despite the many deficiencies I saw; in their eyes we seem to have so much more than them, but they lead much happier lives. This idea that no one should be satisfied with the kind of life that they lead is what compelled me to pursue a career in the medical department. The children of this village have skin diseases that I have only seen through textbooks, have teeth that can only be left to rot, and curable illnesses whose medicines are unaffordable. Pursuing this career path will fill me with the knowledge I need to help these families to lead a healthier and a more deserving life.”






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