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KOSAF Scholars Overseas

A new class of scholarship recipients is regularly selected by the Presidential Science Scholarship. These students represent some of the brightest and the most academically committed students in Korea. Read about what some of the Presidential Science Scholarship recipients have been learning overseas, both during and after the studies that were supported by KOSAF.
Cultivating global leaders as the Korea Student Aid Foundation's scholarship recipients pursue academic aspirations overseas and discover new strengths.


As a KOSAF scholarship recipient, Soohong Park (recipient of the 1st Presidential Science Scholarship) completed a BS in Mechanical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University in the United States. He has now gone to University of Cambridge in the UK to conduct cutting-edge research in solid mechanics for his PhD degree. Soohong explains, “The goal of this project is to manufacture very efficient light-weight structures against high velocity impacting scenarios to protect soldiers and vehicles. The efficient light-weight armour can be produced by combining different types of materials (metal, composite, ceramic) into various types of structures to maximise their material properties. The best example of this kind of structure is [the] sandwich panel, which is also widely used in [the] Aerospace industry.”


Through students like Soohong, the KOSAF vision of supporting Korea’s future leaders is beginning to take shape. Soohong shares, “I am planning to build my career as a research engineer. If possible, I would like to continue working on the military field which I studied during my PhD. By doing so, I can contribute to developing Korea’s science technologies as a return of what I received from the government to study abroad.”


At Yale University in the United States, Na Yeon Kim (recipient of the 7th Presidential Science Scholarship) has been given the privilege of studying under world-renown scholars. Recognizing that professors have a wealth of knowledge and experience to share, Na Yeon explains that her professors have become “great mentors for [her] future career.” She adds, “You can discuss life, career and any subject you are interested in with such prominent scholars[.]”


Knowing at least two languages and being able to adapt to different cultures has become increasingly important in the global arena. Si Young Oh (recipient of the 6th Presidential Science Grant) has seized the opportunity to develop strong communication skills at Carnegie Mellon University in the United States.

Engaging in conversation outside of one‘s field of expertise, especially when English is a second language, may be daunting. Si Young took the challenge head on. “Taking courses outside of your major,” says Si Young, “provides you [with] a chance to communicate about various topics with people of different backgrounds.”


Moving beyond his major, Si Young stretched his mind to new ways of thinking. “Acquiring high-level skill in your field is obviously important but as you explore other fields, you will develop other valuable abilities that are helpful in surprisingly many ways,” he says. “[Y]ou will learn a new way to analyze subjects with a different point of view.” Through an economics course, Si Young recognized the importance of identifying core concepts. At first, he wrestled with understanding the underlying logic. “[E]verything became surprisingly clear,” he shares, once he saw how concepts were connected by their dependency on supply and demand.

While exploring other fields of study, Si Young also came to consider different perspectives. He could think like a mathematician and also analyze theorems like a social psychologist. He elaborates, “There were many tricks to understand[ing] the social behavior of people and [I learned] brilliant ideas that I [had] never imagined[.] I don’t think it would have been possible to achieve [the] ability to think in social psychological ways by only taking courses [in] my major.”

Photos in top row (from left to right):
1. Presidential Science Scholarship recipient Soohong Park
(pictured front row, far left) in the UK with fellow members of
the Cambridge University Ice Hockey Club men‘s varsity squad.
2. Presidential Science Scholarship recipient Si Young Oh
(pictured far right) in China as part of a three-member team
representing Carnegie Mellon University at the ACM International
Collegiate Programming Contest.

Bottom row:
3, 4. Presidential Science Scholarship recipient Na Yeon Kim
in the United States studying at Old Campus at Yale University.