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Student Interview: Yoo-Jin Kang

Yoo-Jin Kang2Yoo-Jin Kang is a current Honors College student studying Modern Languages and Linguistics and Interdisciplinary Studies.

Hometown: Ellicott City, MD

Favorite thing about UMBC: The open, nurturing, and diverse community. UMBC’s community is filled with incredible staff, faculty, and students who aren’t afraid to take risks, collaborate, and talk about the real things that matter. 

Favorite thing about the Honors College: The Honors College support system. I have often described the Honors College Faculty as my other family. My wonderful advisors and mentors, Dr. Kelber-Kaye and Dr. Stacey, have supported me through triumps and intense challenges, both in my academic and personal life, and have been with me every step of the way. I also can’t leave out, Lisa Whittle with her wonderful humor, smile, and willingness to help.

Favorite Honors College Memory: My small group in my freshman honors seminar, led by Brydie Flynn, an older Honors College student. Brydie was encouraging and inclusive of everyone’s input and viewpoints and was able to help us engage with difficult and interesting topics while still keeping us in charge of the discussion. I learned a lot from the lecturers in the seminar itself but especially within the context of my small group where so many different personalities and brains came together.  

Favorite Honors College Class: Hum 120-My freshman year I took the freshman Humanities Scholars forum and learned so much. The first semester, through the guidance of Dr. Manil Suri and Dr. Michelle Osherow, the scholars and I explored the connections between the humanities and mathematics. It was incredibly interesting. The Spring semester forum centered on the Sounds of New Orleans, led by Dr. Kimberly Moffitt and Professor Steven Bradley, where we explored NOLA in all its cultural glory. We even had a New Orleans potluck where students brought in gumbo and other delicious foods. This semester I am looking forward to taking Race, Science, and Society, with Professor Shawn Bediako.

Favorite Honors College Professor: What a difficult question. I would have to point to Dr. Kelber-Kaye for this one. Dr. Kelber-Kaye continues to inspire me; she is humorous, smart, well-spoken, and relatable. She doesn’t ever pretend to be something she’s not and she has taught me the importance of patience, tenacity, and knowing that it’s okay to step back, smile, and make a joke when your day seems darker than usual.

Advice that you would give to incoming Honors College Students: Take advantage of your freshman year-there are so many incredible opportunities for you to explore and find out what makes you tick-go to different student organization meetings, take advantage of the super cool First Year Seminars (I took Images of Madness where we studied how mental illness had been portrayed in film history). Also know that you don’t have to have it all together once you get here-you’ll soon find out that everyone is still finding their way and growing. Focus and follow your passion and interests, ask for help, and always remember the power of open mindedness and humility-we all have something we can learn.

Tell us a little about your experience at the 2014 End Violence Against Women International Conference on Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Trafficking.

This past April I had the privilege of being funded, through the Office of Undergraduate Education Travel Grant, to attend the 2014 End Violence Against Women International conference on Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Trafficking. I was able to present my poster, titled “A Tale of Two Survivors” in between conference sessions. The poster tells the story of two college women who have survived sexual assault on their respective campuses and shows the progression of their healing based on the resources that they are and are not provided. The poster encompasses key points about university culture, the availability of resources (both on and off campus) and the importance of recognizing and eliminating victim-blaming behavior. I had blogged throughout my conference experience and have a link to the poster that can be found here: http://yoojinexplores.blogspot.com/2014/04/end-violence-against-women.html

Overall, the conference was an amazing experience as I was able to attend a variety of sessions that further reinforced the fact that violence is a complex and multi-causal issue that reaches across multiple disciplines and careers. One key point that I left the conference with was the importance of collaboration, education, and interdisciplinary thinking. There are so many gaps of knowledge in different disciplines, but with an issue like violence, it would only make sense to collaborate for synergistic productivity.