Tag Archives: college


Student Spotlight: Chapman University’s Jonathan Y. Shin

Give a little description of your background (where did you grow up, etc.).

I was born in Temple, Texas. My dad, a recent immigrant, was pursuing his M.D. at Texas A&M College of Medicine. My family then moved to California when I was six years old. I attended Sunny Hills High School, Troy High School, and graduated from Army and Navy Academy. I then graduated from UC Irvine and worked full time for a few years before attending law school.


Are there any organizations/clubs you are involved in? Tell us about what you’re up to!

As a 1L, I founded the Korean American Law Student Association (KALSA) with a few friends on campus. Currently, I am in my second term as the organization’s founder and President. In addition, I am also the Vice-President of the Business and Investment Law Society (BILS), and I am a Student Ambassador for Chapman Law School. I also serve as an Advisory Board Member to Chapman’s Career Services Office, and as an Advocate in Honor Council serving in the Office of the Law School.


I am also an active board member in our law school’s Moot Court and Advanced Dispute Resolution (ADR) competition teams, and currently I am involved in a collective effort amongst student organizations in campaigning for another law journal at Chapman Law. Outside of law school, I am a mentor in our church youth ministry and I serve as a leader in our recently launched young adult ministry, Project Au.

What’s the best thing about your school?

The best thing about Chapman Law School would be the low faculty to student ratio, and the shared sense of community within the student body. While law schools are notorious for their competitive environments, our student body truly thrives off of supporting each other. In addition, the career service advisors at our school really help our students find jobs.


Through an interview set up by Jennifer Kim, a Career Service Advisor, I was hired at MKC Law Group. I am currently still employed at MKC Law Group, and the principal attorney, Min Chai, has become a valuable friend and mentor. Furthermore, by attending Chapman, my network expanded to include individuals such as the Former Mayor of Irvine, Sukhee Kang, who currently serves as an adjunct professor on the undergraduate campus.

What has been your favorite memory so far?

My favorite memory would be competing in Moot Court. My team travelled from California to Louisiana to compete in the Thomas Tang Moot Court Competition held by NAPABA. Upon arriving in Dallas, our second flight to New Orleans was cancelled due to a severe storm. Our coach determined that the only way to make it to New Orleans on time would be to drive. We rented a sedan, and we drove for eight hours in the worst Southern storm that I have ever seen! Severe rain and lightning storms relentlessly trailed our car for eight hours from Dallas to New Orleans.


After arriving at our hotel early in the morning, our team did not enjoy the luxury of sleep or practice. We woke up early to head to the Federal Court house to present our arguments. As a result of our resolve to represent our school, my partner and I won Best Brief and were Semi-Finalists. The other Chapman team went on to win first place. Both of our teams then advanced to Nationals, which was held in Scottsdale, Arizona. At Nationals, my partner and I advanced to the Semi-Finals, and the other team won Second Best Brief! Our success in the competition definitely contributed to making this my favorite memory in law school, but more importantly, the time we all spent together preparing and travelling made this the most memorable law school experience. I would like to thank my teammates Arthur Arutyunyan, Nilo Karbassi, and Lindsay Niles, as well as our coaches Nancy Schultz and Andrew Bugman for their time, dedication and friendship.

Who has been an influential figure in your life?

My parents have been influential figures in my life. They have guided and encouraged me to never give up, and to give my 100 percent no matter what. At a young age, my mother taught me to be confident and to stand up for others, which naturally led to my aspiration to become an attorney. My father inspired me to become a leader by serving others. He demonstrated sacrifice and servitude by giving up his medical practices to become a pastor and establish his church, International Grace Ministries (IGM) in Irvine, California. He attended Talbot School of Theology and graduated a three-year course in two-years with honors at the age of 52. Through his example, I learned to always give 100 percent to all of my endeavors and to continuously strive to help others.


What was the hardest thing you’ve done so far?

The hardest thing I’ve done would be juggling law school, extra-curricular activities, and work, all while representing an individual in a removal proceeding. All of the master calendar hearing dates for the removal proceeding coincided with my finals. On top of stressing for finals, I had to prepare for trial on an unfamiliar issue. This case was particularly stressful because being ill prepared could result in the permanent separation of an individual from his family. Adjusting myself to such a rigorous workload refined my time management skills.


Maintaining a proper perspective drove me through tough times and I know that if I work hard and persevere through difficulties, I can surmount any obstacle. Although I have another master calendar hearing scheduled in March 2015, I am thankful to everyone who has helped me along the way and I am grateful to have an opportunity to assist a person in need.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Upon graduating, I plan on starting my own law firm. In five years, I see myself as a licensed attorney and owner/partner at Aventus LLP. You can check out our site at www.aventusllp.com. In pursuit of my passion for cars, I also plan on launching my auto dealership and brokerage service sometime in 2015. The website for the auto dealership and brokering service is still under construction but if you want, you can check it out at www.embassymotors.com.

Coffee, tea, energy drinks, “crazier stuff,” or nothing at all?

Coffee with two shots of espresso, brown rice tea, and imported Monster Energy drinks.


Who’s the person/people you can rely on for anything?

First and foremost, it would be my wife, Judy. In everything I do, she has been my backbone and continues to be my biggest supporter and motivator. Attending law school as a newly wed can be very difficult for your significant other since the curriculum demands a lot of your time and attention, but my wife has always been very supportive and understanding. My family and my best friends, John Kim and Joe Uhm, are also unconditionally supportive of me and I know I can rely on them for anything.



What was the last book you read…for fun?

The last book I read for fun was Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff, a book my father recommended to me. I know some people think its cheesy reading these “self-help” books, but I actually learn a lot from them and I try to practice what I read.

What’s your go-to selfie face? (A picture is obviously necessary.)

I don’t really take selfies, but my dog loves to, so I’ll let her post hers on my behalf.



Rebecca Kim

KoreAm U Weekly Roundup

Temple University student dies after falling eight floors
Family and friends mourn and pay tribute to Rebecca Kim (photo above) – ‘a humble, kind, intelligent girl.’

UPDATE: Third person arrested for involvement in homicide of University of Georgia Student Min Seok Cho 
Cho, 21, was fatally shot in the head during a marijuana deal that reportedly went bad on Jan. 13.

Korean language classes in NY aren’t just for Koreans anymore
Lessons previously geared toward young second-generation Korean Americans in the past now target a diverse group of students who take time out of their weekends to brush up on their ga, na and das.

2015 Youth Leadership Summit, March 26-28
Asian Americans Advancing Justice AAJC’s Youth Leadership Summit is a three-day leadership development program for college students. The summit provides a unique opportunity for young advocates from across the country to come to Washington DC to network and learn together. The deadline to apply is Feb. 14.

International and American students divided at the Ohio State University
Physical distances no longer divide OSU students, but distances in communication sometimes do. Some students say that the stereotypes — both of United State citizens and International students — often cause harm to chances of finding commonalities with each other.

University of Virginia students launch “Pear” matchmaking app
Joshua Choi

After finding limited success with popular dating apps like Tinder, second-year student Joshua Choi took matters into his own hands — developing the mobile app Pear, which launches in the Apple and Android stores this week. The app, Choi said, relies on users’ natural inclination to play matchmaker with their friends.

Sophomore Heein Choi selected as Charter Day student speaker at William & Mary University
Choi ’17, a double major in Asian American studies and finance, is a South Korean immigrant whose family moved to Silver Spring, Maryland, when he was four.

South Korean university students trust strangers more than politicians and corporations
The results of the survey of 2,300 students from 130 universities throughout the country demonstrate the high level of pessimism among the younger generation about the political and economic agents in the country.

Beyond Black and White: Asian-American Memories of Selma

As the country marks 50 years since the historic 1965 voting rights marches from Selma to Montgomery with everything from individual memories to big-screen memorials, the stories of Asian-American participants, like Endo, are often lost in the mix, as are the motivations behind their solidarity.


Let us know of the latest news from your own campus at koream.u@iamkoream.com!


‘RAISE’ Scholarship for Undocumented Asian American Youth

by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim

Undocumented Asian American youths can be hard-pressed to find financial aid, even if they knew where to look. The RAISE Scholarship, the first scholarship ever offered exclusively for undocumented pan-Asian youth, seeks to address this problem.

The scholarship is a collaboration by Sahra Vang Nguyen, RAISE (Revolutionizing Asian American Immigrant Stories on the East Coast) and the Asian American Legal Defense and Education (AALDEF). Nguyen told NBC Asian America that she was inspired to create the scholarship after seeing RAISE’s Letters From UndocuAsians, a theatrical show that highlighted the hardships of being an undocumented Asian American youth.

Having previous experience with creating scholarships, Ngyuen teamed up with RAISE and AALDEF to create and fund five $500 scholarships for undocumented Asian American youth in five areas: Arts and Culture, Higher Education, Leadership, Community Service and Professional Development.


You can download the application here and find out more details about the scholarship, including eligibility and requirements.

To find out more about RAISE, visit the AALDEF’s website or contact RAISE members at info@aaldef.org.


H/T to NBC Asian America

Reggie Ho 1

Ken Jeong Tells the Story of Notre Dame’s Asian ‘Rudy’

by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim

Doctors usually don’t stray too far from their area of expertise–unless you’re Ken Jeong, of course. The physician-turned-actor and comedian knows a thing or two about switching careers, which is why he was seemingly the perfect director for the 30 for 30 short film on Reginald “Reggie” Ho, a pre-med student at the University of Notre Dame who was part of the acclaimed football team that won a national championship in 1988.

As far as inspiring stories go, Notre Dame already has one in Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, who played for the Fighting Irish in 1976 as a walk-on defensive end. Reggie Ho, who grew up in Hawaii, never dreamed of playing football in college until he decided that he needed a more well-rounded life as a pre-med student. That meant trying out for the university’s football team.

Reggie Ho 2Ho had an unorthodox way of doing things, but it worked. 

About 5-foot-5 tall and weighing 135 pounds, Ho, like Rudy, didn’t really fit the mold for a Division I (D-I) football player. But as the team’s primary kicker, Ho would play an important role in Notre Dame’s most recent undefeated season.

“He is the most unlikely football hero ever,” Jeong told Keith Olbermann last week, “and he is a doctor, a cardiologist—an electro-physiological cardiologist—85 times smarter than me, than I ever was as a doctor.”

“He’s a better guy, a better human being,” he continued. “Way more humble, way less loud and over the top. He’s just everything I’m not. I’m the anti-Ho, in many ways. I’m really here to meet my mirror-image twin, and he’s just been amazing, he’s so inspiring.”

However, “over-the-top” is exactly what Ho was good at–sending the pigskin up and through the uprights. During night practices in a parking lot, the student-athlete used his knowledge of physics and his own body to mathematically come up with the best way to kick the ball from any position.

Most notably, Ho successfully kicked 4 out of 4 field goals against powerhouse Michigan to give Notre Dame the victory. Ho didn’t receive any financial support from the school, but that didn’t deter him from either of his priorities that year. After team practices, Ho would go straight to the library to make finish his coursework.

Although he walked away from football after just one year and now lives comfortably with his family out of the spotlight, Ho hasn’t forgotten how to kick. Watching him step back onto the same field, get into position for a kick and do his signature finger wiggle is pretty dang cool. You can watch the 13-minute film at this link or below..

Featured photo courtesy of ESPN


KoreAm Seeks Winter/Spring Web Editorial Interns

KoreAm is seeking a Web editorial intern to write original blog posts on subjects that have a Korean American focus or angle for its website, iamKoreAm.com. The intern will be expected to write three posts a day and will have the opportunity to pitch and write longer stories for KoreAm Journal, the bimonthly, flagship print publication.

KoreAm offers a small stipend and/or college credit to interns. Applicants should be self-motivated go-getters with a strong sense of initiative, curiosity and appreciation for the written word. This is a great opportunity to collect clips, gain writing and reporting experience and contribute to an influential and dynamic voice in the national Korean American community.

Daily Tasks Include:
– Writing three blog posts a day
– Assisting with social media
– Digitally archiving print articles
– Pitching original stories for the website
– General administrative tasks

–  A college student or recent graduate with strong writing skills. Journalism experience (such as previous work for a campus newspaper, internship) is strongly preferred.
–  Knowledge of Korean American / Asian American issues and pop culture is preferred.
–  Knowledge of social media platforms, including Facebook, twitter and tumblr is preferred.
–  Experience with WordPress and HTML is preferred, but not required.

Please send a cover letter, resume, and three writing samples (PDFs or hyperlinks preferred) to suevon@iamkoream.com and reera@iamkoream.com. Please write “Web Intern” in the subject line.


KoreAm is a bimonthly culture magazine focused on Korean American issues and people of interest. Its website, iamKoream.com, is updated daily and offers everything from original blog posts to commentary.


‘Calculus Chocolates’ Offer Sweet Relief for Korean Students


Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.

That is, unless you buy a box from Piaf Artisan Chocolatiers in South Korea. And if your life revolves around studying, like most Korean students during the annual college entrance exam season, a box of Piaf Artisan chocolates might be exactly what you’re looking for.

The latest work from the Seoul-based chocolatier features candies decorated with calculus equations. Assuming the chocolate is delicious, this could very well be the perfect food for thought.

Chocolate 1

“I hope these can bring a smile to their faces as they get themselves prepared for the exams,” creator Ko Eun-su told the Wall Street Journal.

Ko, who left a seven-year career as a computer engineer to pursue his passion in chocolate-making, explained that he took the project “very seriously.” But the feedback wasn’t quite what he expected.

“[Customers] said people cracked up when they got these [chocolates],” he said.

The calculus chocolates are sold in box sets of four, nine and 15, and they will run you 13,000 won ($12), 25,000 won ($23) and 39,000 won ($36) respectively. Each box also comes with a helpful booklet explaining the equations.

Chocolate 4

Chocolate 5

You can check out the rest of Piaf Artisan Chocolatier’s creations at their Facebook page.

Images via Piaf Artisan Chocolatier

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Student Spotlight: Michigan State Triple Feature

This week’s KoreAm U Student Spotlight features three students in their last year of law school  at Michigan State University: William Cho, Daniel DJ Kim and Harry Jung (left to right, above).

Give a little description about yourselves and where you’re from.

Will: We are all very fortunate to be in the same graduating class representing the West Coast, Midwest, and the East Coast. I went to high school in La Crescenta near Los Angeles, DJ grew up in West Bloomfield near Detroit, and Harry grew up around New York City. For undergrad, I went to UC San Diego, DJ went to the University of Michigan, and Harry went to Hamilton College. We all took some time off before law school and now we’re in our last year of law school.

We possess three distinct personalities but we also have many similar stories about growing up as Korean Americans. We always joke about each other’s clothes or word choices as our regional stereotypes really started to show when we started hanging out.

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As the first generation in your families to attend law school in the United States, what else has brought you guys together throughout the years?

We found out that we are all first-born sons to immigrant parents, so we always talk about our parents’ strong expectations concerning everything from education to marriage. We also all have younger siblings so we often discuss how Korean culture has affected our additional responsibilities to them and our family.

Our theme to get us through our last year of law school is to embody 정 (jeong) and 깡 (kgang). As we start to make our way into the real world, we don’t want to forget where we came from, while still pursuing our life and career goals. We were brought together by recognizing 정 and we were able to get through life’s obstacles through our 깡. When we were younger, it felt like our parents expectations felt like nagging but as we got older we began to understand that they meant the best for us.

Although we may not all be practicing attorneys right out of law school, we are grateful that our parents have steered us in the right direction to put ourselves in a position to pursue our own career path with the same 정 and 깡 that our parents had when they first came to the U.S. With our degrees, we hope that we can continue the tradition by helping the next generation of Korean Americans pursue their career paths whether they are through traditional or nontraditional paths.

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What are you favorite things about your school?

We love the tradition of Big Ten athletics at our school. Our law school is still fairly new but we see the potential of MSU Law making a bigger name itself academically and in the legal market. We were all drawn to the strong presence of football, basketball. Coaches Mark Dantonio and Tom Izzo are great examples of advocating gritty fundamentals and establishing success through teamwork.

After a rough season in our first year, it was amazing to witness our team winning the Rose Bowl last year. Attending a school with high levels of school spirit really makes a difference. The energy on campus during game day is electric and it’s amazing to be a part of global Spartan network. Go Green!

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Tailgate (1)

Tailgate (3)

Tailgate (2) DJ

Are there any organizations/clubs you are involved in? Tell us about what you’re up to!

There’s a wide variety of organizations on campus and it’s a great way to meet new people with similar interests. We have to spend a lot of time with the same people for class so it’s nice to come together for reasons other than academics.

DJ is the president of the Sports Law and Entertainment Society. The organization books speakers such as former sports agents to come speak about sports law. The organization also helps students network with other grad students by hosting a football game against the business school. Harry works at the Investor Advocacy Clinic where he helps represent investors with disputes and other legal programs when they are not able to secure a private attorney. I run the International Law Society where I work with the other ethnic and cultural organizations at school to help students find opportunities to work and study abroad.

Outside of school we participate in intramural sports in football, basketball, and hockey. Being from California, it’s been fun finding new places to play hockey such as rivers or outdoor rinks.

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What was the hardest thing you’ve done so far?

Getting through our first year was difficult in that you really had to change the way you think and study. It’s almost like a boot camp for your mind and there are some professors that treat it that way. Time management was critical with the heavy workload but you eventually learn the system and find what you’re good at. The key thing is to find the right balance of work and fun to keep a positive and healthy mind, especially through the frigid, gloomy winter months.

Have you had any study abroad experiences?

Harry went to Korea through a program at Fordham University where he took classes and had an internship with Samsung. DJ and I both studied in Europe through MSU Law’s programs. DJ spent his summer in Croatia studying Intellectual Property during the first year Croatia was official accepted into the European Union. I was in Poland studying European Union law and had an internship researching mining law in Poland. It was fascinating to visit the sites of many significant historical events such as the Warsaw Uprising and Auschwitz.

From top to bottom: Harry, DJ and Will.

Harry abroad

DJ abroad

Will abroad

Our international experiences haves given us a broader perspective of the law and we were able to interact and make lasting friendships with foreign law students for the first time. We all hope to continue to travel to bring our cultures together.

Your go-to food places:

You can never go wrong with Dae Jang Geum in East Lansing. It opened less than a year ago and it has quickly become the best local spot for Korean food. The owner is the nicest lady and keeps the recipes authentic. Their Dak kalbi is phenomenal and has gained many new fans from our classmates. Harry could easily eat here eight times a week (he often does).

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After a night out, we usually find ourselves at Udon Sushi (pictured above). They’re open until 3am and offer a mix of Chinese and Korean food. The owner is Korean but grew up in China before coming to the U.S. There is always a fun atmosphere there and their seafood pancake is near perfect!

What songs are representative of your life right now?

Our school’s unofficial anthem, “Rich Homie Quan – Some Type of Way”

And our personal favorite is Mr. Yang’s rendition of “About a Week Ago” from Bobby Shmurda

What does your typical night out consist of?

We’ll gather up our classmates and meet at the bars in East Lansing. Our favorites are Dublin and PT O’Malley’s on the weekend for cheap drinks and good music. Thursdays are our signature karaoke night at Crunchy’s where they offer delicious pizza and literally buckets of beer!

What’s your go-to selfie face?

Harry is the selfie master and has his own signature look that adapts to any time and place.

Selfie at Crunchy's

If you were trapped on a remote island, what would be your assigned tasks to survive?

DJ has always been the ambassador over the years so he would be in charge of negotiating with any of the natives on the island so that we could share the island and live in peace. Harry would be in charge of defending our settlement from any hostile people or animals. If we were to make any shelter, he’d also be the one moving the logs around. I just love to eat so I’d be in charge of the cooking and farming. I’ll make sure there’s good food and drink to get our mind off being trapped on a remote island.

If you would like to participate in KoreAm U’s Student Spotlight feature, you can find more information here. Alumni, we have something for you too!


SAT Cheating Investigation: The Latest Scandal in SKorean Education


Thousands of Chinese and South Korean students who took their SATs earlier this month will have to wait a bit longer for their scores to arrive. The Educational Testing Service (ETS), which administers the exam around the world, is temporarily withholding scores in response to allegations of cheating, according to the New York Times.

The Educational Testing Service, which is contracted by the College Board to administer the test overseas, said in a statement that they had “specific, reliable information” that there were “organizations that seek to illegally obtain test materials for their own profit, to the ultimate detriment of all students.” The ETS also said it would investigate and release valid scores by mid-November.

The SAT is a crucial test for international students applying for American colleges and universities. Unfortunately for the students affected in this latest cheating scandal, they won’t be able to send their scores in time to make the early decision deadline, which is at the end of October for most institutions.

An executive director at Princeton Review’s Hong Kong and Shanghai divisions told TIME that most of the students who are applying for early decision to American universities already have scores from past tests, but most likely took the October exam in hopes of submitting a higher score.

Students took to social media and message boards, understandably expressing concerns over whether or not their chances of admission would be affected. ETS spokesman Thomas Ewing assuaged these fears, telling TIME this past Wednesday that ETS would “make universities aware of the circumstances and supply students with a letter to share with the schools to which they are applying.” Other admissions counselors also commented that the delay would not hurt chances of admissions — as long as they weren’t implicated in the investigation.

The news isn’t all too surprising, especially regarding the highly competitive South Korean education system. In the past, a number of preparation schools have been accused of acquiring test questions in advance and then sharing them with their clientele — the students. The SAT was cancelled in South Korea in May of last year, and 900 scores were voided in 2007 due to the same reports.

The picture gets worse in the case of the yearly college entrance exam, which is considered a “make-or-break” moment for young Koreans. The South Korean Ministry of Education faces a difficult task of fixing a system that has been described as an “arms race.” Parents reportedly paid $18 billion in 2013 for private education in cram schools, also known as hagwons, to gain an advantage in the yearly college entrance exam. An average household of two children spends more than 4 million won ($3,946), or about 10 percent of monthly income, on private education.

Most of the money goes to private English lessons, which explains the bottomless need for English teachers. In August, Education Minister Hwang Woo-yea said the ministry was considering changing the grading system for English, one of the most competitive subjects in the entrance exam. According to previous test-takers, a single wrong answer in English could mean a student missing the cut for the highest tier of scoring to be considered for an elite university.

All that spending and stressing apparently isn’t paying off too handsomely. Learning company EF Education First ranked South Korea at No. 24 among 60 countries in English proficiency.

Lying on college applications is a rampant issue as well, according to Joongang Daily. Students include awards that don’t exist, volunteer and extracurricular activities they’ve never done and awards they’ve never received. In many instances, their teachers have no problem writing recommendation letters full of activities and achievements the student never fulfilled. A system that was meant to help rural and lower income students by taking the focus off standardized test scores doesn’t have the capacity and regulations to properly screen applicants.

Since 2011, South Korea has led the world in the percent of young adults with a college education, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). But as always, the numbers don’t tell the whole story — after all, an incredibly competitive system that drives many to cheat, lie and spend huge amounts of money can’t be healthy for the students.

A poll by the Korea Health Promotion Foundation taken earlier this year revealed that over half of the teens polled said they had suicidal thoughts this year, and one in three said they felt very depressed. In addition, almost half of the teens polled said school pressure and uncertainty of the future were the main causes of stress. This is evident in Korean Students Speak, a Tumblr project created by a group of Fulbright English Teaching Assistants who wanted to allow their students to creatively express their opinions about anything. Many students took the opportunity to vent and express their frustrations about the pressure of school.

Test scores and intensive education may have made sense during the “age of industrialization,” said Lee Ju-ho, an academic at a think tank in Seoul and former education minister. But not anymore.

“We look into the ways to reform our education system not based on test scores, but based on creativity and social and emotional capacities,” Lee told BBC News last year.

Education Minister Seo Nam-Soo echoed the same sentiment, which is at least a start. “We still have a long way to go,” he said, “but we are doing some soul-searching in our society, and our goals now are about how to make our people happier.”

Image via Education News