“To see the world in a grain of sand and to see heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hands and eternity in an hour.”- William Blake
Jihyon, nicknamed Ji, is a go-getter. “If I’m different from anyone, I think it’s that I am really open-minded and willing to work for things. I don’t mind doing a lot of work if that's what should be done. I’m willing to take the risk and find the opportunities” she says. Ji’s attitude, work ethic, and positive outlook on life are constant themes in her recollections of her time at UNH. “I ask myself ‘If I missed this opportunity, what would happen?’ I’m only in college for four years. Might as well try to take on everything and see what happens. Sometimes it’s a disaster but it all works out in the end. It’s not that I’m smarter than anyone else. I’m just willing to do the work and stay open-minded.”
Ji’s time studying abroad as well as her work in environmental engineering have given her the opportunity to see more places and positively impact the lives of others. From studying in Scotland, working as an au pair in Italy and with plans to do the same in Ireland, Ji has been able to challenge herself and grow as an individual. For her senior project, she has been working to design a potable water distribution and chlorination treatment system to update bathroom facilities for 1,200 students at an elementary school in the Dominican Republic. During spring break, she will be traveling to the Dominican Republic to continue into the third phase of this ambitious project. She will be working with five classmates and an advisor, Dr. Jim Malley who has also been the most supportive and inspiring faculty mentor for Ji during her time at UNH.
Ji credits several people and groups for influencing her success at UNH. Ji participated in the CONNECT program initially as a participant, then as Peer Mentor, and a Senior Staff Member. CONNECT is a first-year orientation program for multicultural students focused on academic achievement and making connections. Ji explains, “CONNECT helped me so much; to learn about resources and also meet the upperclassman mentors. They have been a tremendous resource for me, really supporting and helping me get involved. I thought every student came here and was supposed get involved in everything but I found later that wasn’t always true!” She also credits the Department Civil and Environmental Engineering whose faculty and staff taught her how to excel as a student and professional. “I am so grateful for the engineering education I received at UNH, which could not have been possible without the dedication of my teachers including Dr. Jim Malley and Dr. Nancy Kinner.”
Ji also got involved with the engineering society for Black students. She became a Program Coordinator for the group and was then inspired to start the Korean Culture Club (KCC) with three friends. “We noticed that many people had this idea that all Asian cultures are the same and would often group the whole race together. South Korea is small but it has an impact on the world. We wanted to spread the word and educate. Not only was it for the support for Korean students but for other people on campus to learn about the culture.” Ji is the President of the KCC, a thriving group on campus with eight officers, six of whom do not ethnically identify as Korean.
Most importantly, Ji credits family. “My mom is so strong. She moved here when she didn’t speak any English and now she has this life built for us. She was the one who taught me to be strong, work hard, and have a work ethic with a positive view on life. She taught me how to live life and what kind of attitude to have and how to work for it. Everything that I ever had is based on what she taught me.” She also knows that the support and guidance from her step-father helped her achieve great things as well. “He is my greatest supporter.”
Upon graduation, Ji plans to attend graduate school in environmental engineering and looks forward to continuing her work on water treatment and providing aid to those who do not have essentials. Whether helping incoming freshmen, studying late in Kingsbury, working on projects abroad, organizing Korean Culture Club’s Korean New Year celebration, or just hanging out with friends, Ji will fondly recall all of the people she worked with here at UNH. Ji shares, “everyone has a certain amount of time and it depends on how you use it.”
2012 - 2013 CYOS Honorees: (left to right) Brittany Zorn, Laura Gardocki, Peter Callahan, Merhawi Wells-Bogue, Molly Hunt, Larry Rackliff, Lauren Banker, Ben Claxton, Alex Freid, Jihyon Im