A peace engineer is an individual dedicated to designing, building and maintaining peace among people on Earth. JooWon Kim, a political science major from South Korea, said her experience at Binghamton University has prepared her for such a career.
“The campus staff provided me with a lot of support and resources as an international student in break-housing. I knew I wanted to be the person to help new students adjust to Binghamton and America,” she said. “Being an RA was important to me because I wanted to serve my peers and provide them with the same resources I was given my freshman year.”
Kari Brick, a residential director in Mohawk Hall, said Kim has been as a great mentor and role model for students.
“JooWon has been an integral part of our residential team in Mohawk Hall, and will be sorely missed on our staff,” she said. “I truly appreciate the level of thought and creativity JooWon puts into her programs. Her events are always unique and constantly aim to meet the needs of our residents.”
Kim will serve as the Harpur College undergraduate student marshal for the Fall 2013 Commencement ceremony. She said she never imagined graduating from an American university when she was an exchange high school student in Michigan in 2008.
“When I first decided to apply to American colleges, I knew I wanted to study on the East Coast for a quality education. I realized the SUNY system was highly valued, and Binghamton was my first choice considering the quality of education and out-of-state tuition,” she said. “Binghamton has the best admission packet and the website was the most appealing out of the other schools I applied to.”
Kim took advantage of opportunities on campus to begin exploring possible career options. “Working in the CDC as a résumé reviewer taught me a lot about marketing and presenting oneself. A résumé is an evolving document to express your passion, interests and experience to an employer.”
Kim said her academic interests and on-campus opportunities led her to establish the Binghamton chapter of Peace Action as an intern with Peace Action New York State.
“Starting a new organization on campus was tough, and I focused a lot on marketing and advertising the group,” Kim said. Hard work and dedication won her the “Student Organization President of the Year Award” from the Dean of Students Office among the more than 260 student groups on campus.
Peace Action’s collaboration with the Muslim Student Association sparked Kim’s interest in the Middle East. In summer 2013, Kim became a research intern for the Center for Arab-West Understanding in Cairo, Egypt.
“It was an eye-opening experience,” she said. “Egypt went through a revolutionary wave of political demonstrations and protest that summer. As a political science major, it was a interesting time to be there and witness a historical moment. From the president being overthrown, the protest in the streets to the death toll, which saddens me, too.”
For Kim, peace means communication and respect.
“It’s not a big idea or about policy, it’s about respecting and understanding the difference in people,” she said. “I’m interested in conflict resolution and international relations because I want to be a bridge person who connects two or more conflicting groups, whether it’s at an international or local level.”
-- By Mohamed Sesay