Joon Sub Lee, a Korean boarding student at Trinity-Pawling, is the schoolâ€™s valedictorian this year. His goals, like his achievements, are large and many. Ever since he could remember, Joon Sub has wanted to be a scientist; later, this aspiration would take more definite form in his interest in immunology. Due to a severe lack of government funding, however, Koreaâ€™s research opportunities are far less developed than those in Americaâ€”hence his decision to study in the states.
As a foreigner, Joon Sub says he has often felt ostracized through both language and cultural barriers. â€śI do have good friends here, but still â€¦ there are certain limits that a non-athletic Asian kid cannot pass.â€ť On the Korean subculture at Trinity-Pawling Joon Sub said, â€śthere is a secluded group of foreign students, but itâ€™s not purely the Americanâ€™s fault â€¦ in most cases, Asian students tend to just hang around with themselves, speak their own language.â€ť
Despite the difficulties in learning outside of his native language and culture, however, Joon Sub has continually pushed himself out of his comfort zone. Academically, he has taken a total of 12 advanced placement exams in his high school career (a standing record at T-P), including the AP English exam. In his extracurricular regimen Joon Sub has also found himself in almost every niche at Trinity-Pawling, â€śI think my various interests in multiple areas and my tendency to constantly push myself allowed me to become an actor, a singer, a magician.â€ť
Joon Sub plans to matriculate next year to the University of California, Berkeley, as a molecular and cellular biology major and hopes to do research in the field of immunology after graduate school. Eventually, he plans to bring back the knowledge heâ€™s gained here in the states and establish a more structured system of research in Korea.
This article is sponsored by a generous donation from M&S of Pawling. http://www.mandsofpawling.com/