James Kim Jr., a senior biomedical engineering student from St. Louis, was awarded a Chang-Lin Tien Scholarship. This scholarship, given by the UM System, is meant “to support exceptional, civic-minded students”.
“Winning the award really reinforced my drive for what I have been doing in terms of civic leadership,” Kim said.
During his sophomore year, Kim felt a larger obligation to get more involved in civic activities. Kim did so by volunteering for the McCaskill for Senate campaign.
“I learned a lot of valuable insights about politics and social change,” Kim said regarding that experience.
During his junior year, Kim organized a TEDx event on campus. He learned several things about leadership while planning the event.
“When I started, I wanted to have big decisions made by group vote. But I noticed that started to delay our process. I learned to be more assertive in making decisions,” Kim said.
Kim’s TEDx student organization eventually became an official university program under the Office of Student Engagement.
In addition to organizing the TEDx event, Kim has tutored Columbia-area high school students through CorColumbia. He also is in the process of applying to be an English Language Learner (ELL) tutor with the Grade A Plus program.
Kim plans to graduate in May 2021. He wants to get his master’s degree in the United Kingdom as part of the Fulbright Program. Then he wants to come back to the United States and go to medical school. However, Kim still wants to be a participant in civic and policy discussions.
“I’m passionate with population/public health,” Kim said. “And I think I can use bioinformatics research to work with census data and medical data to identify trends and problems so we can steer policy reforms in the right direction.”