Yoo Eun Kim '16
Name & Class Year: Yoo Eun Kim, 2016
Hometown: Mukilteo, Washington
High School: Kamiak High School
Campus Activities: Student Government Association, Center for Women and Financial Independence, Running Club
Last Movie Seen in Theaters: The Lego Movie
Favorite Movie: Annie Hall
Favorite Song: Twilight by Electric Light Orchestra
Smith House: Northrop
Last Book Read: The Firm by Duff McDonald
Favorite Book: Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Hobbies/Interests: Watching Woody Allen and Groucho Marx films, running, traveling, eating pho and Korean food, and journaling
Favorite Place on Campus: Paradise Pond and Quad Lawn
Favorite Campus Dining Location Comstock House
Favorite Quote: "When the door of opportunities closes, punch through the window!" —Yoo Eun Kim
Fondest Smith Memory So Far: Working on a group video project for my Korean Popular Culture Class with Lisa, Viridiana, Gisele, and Josey.
Where did you grow up and what was life like there?
For the last 14 years, I have lived in Mukilteo, a seaside town complemented by its proximity to the international Boeing Corporation, which has lent our small municipality a distinct cosmopolitan flavor. Living in Mukilteo allowed me to meet different people while enjoying the beautiful West Coast scenery.
Describe your family.
At a young age, my parents and my sister have instilled in me the importance of self-cultivation. When I was five years old, my family and I immigrated to the United States due to the limited opportunities available in South Korea. My parents' sacrifice and obstacles of having to live in a new culture and society motivated me to seek and pursue opportunities that allowed me to become confident, curious, and out-spoken. My sister has also played a crucial role in my self-development. When I experience shortcomings, she is the first person to reassure me and see the failure as a precursor to success.
How did you discover Smith?
I initially became interested in Smith College after a high school upperclassman, Nahee, decided to enroll into Smith (she's now a Smith senior!). In addition to school, Nahee and I attended the same tutoring center and the director encouraged me to consider and apply to women's schools. After hearing about pioneering Smithies and the wide array of opportunities for women leadership and empowerment, I applied and eventually chose Smith to pursue my undergraduate studies.
What were your first impressions of the College? Do you find they're still true today?
When my high school peers discovered that I was attending a women's school, I was met with dumbfounded looks. One girl cried, "No boys!? What about dating? I don't think I can survive," to which I responded, "Don't worry, I am going there - not you!" Although I was aware about Smith's diversity and unique environment, I felt bit nervous since I neither lived far away from home nor attended a women's school before. But through my experience in the Bridge program and my interactions with my Housemates, especially my former roommate, Tessa '16, I felt welcomed and realized that the diversity played an important part at Smith. Before I came to college, I never realized that strangers can smile and be helpful. The sense of unity, especially at a women's school, made me feel appreciated and gave me a second family.
What was high school like? Who inspired you?
My high school was fairly large and provided me with many opportunities to foster my leadership and intellectual curiosity. By taking courses from one teacher, Ms. Oglesby, I was able to develop my interest in world history and philosophy and be introduced to influential figures such as Zhang He, Nietzsche, and Hume. In addition, my participation in my high school's Key Club chapter made me become involved in youth advocacy. Seeing motivated peers encouraged me to become further involved; this experience culminated my interest in public policy.
What Smith professors, coaches or advisors have inspired you?
Professor Miller and Professor Eddy have provided wonderful support to my extracurricular and academic interests ever since my first year at Smith. In open-hours, I did not only discuss subjects related to class assignments, but also my entrepreneurship and career pursuits. They have provided guidance and numerous references, especially for funding applications, such as the Smith Students' Aid Society and Leanna Brown '56 Fellowship. Without the unwavering support from my professors, I honestly do not think I would have either been motivated to be involved with the Center for Women and Financial Independence or had the opportunity to work at the White House last summer.
Have you volunteered as a student? If yes, what did you find most rewarding about the experience?
During high school, I had the honor of serving as the International Trustee of Key Club International, the world's largest high school community service organization. On behalf of the organization's 260,000 members, I represented and spoke at international leadership and board meetings, attended by national and international Kiwanis, Unicef, and March of Dimes representatives and service leaders, learning how service can be defined in so ways. This experience made me realize that service is not something you just put on a resume or demonstrated by an accolade-service is a way of life.
What are your plans after Smith?
Following graduation, I hope to work in consulting and pursue either a MBA or a joint MBA/MPP degree program. Before Smith, I originally wanted to pursue either a MPP or a law degree, but my experience with the Draper Business Plan Competition and Debby Farrington '76 $50 Challenge and my summer White House associateship made me become interested in social entrepreneurship and a management consulting career involving for-profit companies, non-profit organizations, government, and NGOs.
What perspective would you share with alumnae?
My experience at Smith has been transformative and I credit Smith for launching my interest in government and entrepreneurship. If I had decided to attend a co-ed school-whether it was a state school, an Ivy, or even a small liberal arts school—I sincerely doubt that I would have gained the same support and resources that have been available at Smith.