Born and raised in a coastal and industrial town in South Korea, I faced environmental externalities such as air pollution, water degradation, and its impact on health on a daily basis. Whenever it rained, chemical plants emitted pollutants and everyone can see cloudy and dark sky on that day. A river crossing the city was heavily contaminated by wastewater emissions due to industrialization and urbanization. Environmental awareness from an early age naturally drew my attention to environmental policy and governance.
I love science (especially, Physics and Earth Science). I went to school in Seoul, one of the most dynamic cities in the world. While in college, I participated in various research and interdisciplinary projects as a summer research assistant and honors college student, as well as external professional development activities — such as participating in policy forums, writing science fiction, interviewing scholars, and reading liberal arts and science books — with a working group of young scientists. I found reading articles on new scientific discoveries always inspiring, but I also liked the complexity of social problems. That led me to study both natural science and social science. After graduating from college, I pursued a master’s degree in public policy specializing in regional development and environmental policy in a NASPAA accredited institution under a leading economic think tank in Korea. Throughout the program, I interacted with numerous government officials and scholars from all over the world representing their countries. Working with diplomats, public servants, and central bankers from 135 different countries as a student peer was a tremendous learning experience and this friendship became a part of my worldwide network.
I have spent extended time in the United Kingdom, Thailand, Belgium, and Germany for work and study. As a recipient of the Scranton Study Abroad Scholarship, I was an undergraduate exchange student at University of Leicester in Spring 2011. I lived in London briefly for the international summer school at the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2014. In the following Fall 2014, I worked as a full-time intern in the Regional Office of Asia and the Pacific (ROAP), United Nation Environmental Program, after completing the Global Environmental Leaders Program (G.E.L.P.), the Korean government's highly selective scholarship program for capacity building and international organization internships. In 2015, I served as the only non-European Schuman trainee at the Secretariat of European Parliament in Brussels for foreign policy needs for the European Union.
For my graduate studies, I made another big geographical transition to the United States from East Asia via Europe. I love Austin, Texas, where I completed my master's degree in Economics with a cohort of wonderful people. Some of my friends say that I have "Texas Pride" as I have deep affection for the city and its people though I only just lived there one year (Keep Austin Weird!). I come to appreciate pure Michigan more and more as time goes by (Go Green!).
When I am not working, I enjoy hiking, yoga, and painting. My favorite outdoor activity is rock climbing.