Sooyong (right) and FGL Fellow '21 Victor Hua working onsite at their nonprofit Illumna

Sooyong (right) and FGL Fellow '21 Victor Hua working onsite at their nonprofit Illumna

Sooyong Kwon

University: Yale University
Major: Ethics, Politics & Economics
Languages: Korean
Download Sooyong's resume 

Biography: My name is Sooyong Kwon and I am a QuestBridge scholar at Yale University. My family emigrated from South Korea to United States when I was in 6th grade. This transition happened during my formative years, and it impressed upon me a conflicting set of emotions. Liberating sense of freedom and provocative impulses of entrepreneurship have washed over me when I realized how many different opportunities are available to me in the United States. However, I have come to experience and recognize the systematic discrimination deeply rooted in this beautiful society that makes me sometimes damp with sadness, and other times, rapid with anger. To improve this society that I love and to take a stance for my beliefs in human rights and environmentalism, I have decided to pursue Ethics, Politics, and Economics as my major.

I serve as the President for Green 3000, an organization that spreads awareness of the deteriorating environment. For one of our exciting projects, we traveled to Svalbard, Norway to campaign with students in the school closest to the North Pole, and were featured in the Korea Daily. I am also part of Project Bright, a solar energy awareness club on campus, where I constructed a solar panel and raised awareness of the utility of solar energy by using this panel to screen the 2016 Harvard-Yale Game on Cross Campus during the weekend of the 2017 Harvard-Yale Game (because Yale’s winning streak will be sustainable). I am also a member of Citizen’s Climate Lobby, where I advocate for carbon tax as a solution to balance economic development and environmental protection.

To aid disadvantaged local high school students, I act as the Legal Committee Chair, Fort Lee Branch Manager, and a Mentor of Illumna, an educational non-profit organization located in Bergen County, New Jersey that helps mentees gain soft skills, mentorship, and a professional network. As the Legal Committee Chair, I filed Illumna as a non-profit organization by writing bylaws, receiving the Certificate of Incorporation, and filing Form 1023 EZ; developed and executed a holistic background check system for mentors consisting of Background Check Disclosure and Authorization form, SBI 212B Criminal History Check, and Sex Offender History Check; and negotiated program endorsement and classroom rent with three local high schools. Furthermore, I oversaw the recruitment of 14 mentors from universities such as Yale, Princeton, and Vanderbilt, fundraised $2640, managed social media campaign that raised over 5,000 impressions to the website, and oversaw summer program operations consisting of a cohort of seven mentors and 23 mentees. I plan to expand Illumna to a nation-wide scale to maximize my ability to help disadvantaged students.

As an aspiring law-maker and law-interpreter, I am looking for opportunities in the policymaking realm. I wish to receive a J.D. degree and build a career at think tanks such as Brookings Institution, non-profit organizations such as American Civil Liberties Union, and various political institutions such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change under United Nations.