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Training USTians with pride by promotinga creative educational environment

UNIQUE
DIFFERENT
PROFESSIONAL
Excellent
Secure world-leading educational competitiveness

Discovering creative talent and to become real USTians
Establishment of UST21 education system

Entrepreneur
Become a university with industry-academia-research integration

Strengthening the cooperation between UST-GFRIs-corporations
Strengthen the cooperation between GFRIs
Support business start-ups with GFRI-based technologies

Global
Establish global status as a national research university

Improving brand value
Improving cooperation network

Smart
Establish creative knowledge management system

Providing creative educational environment by applying cutting-edge technology
Improving management effectiveness

Meaning of Understanding Myself and My Happiness

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  • Registration Date : 2019-10-31
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Story about Student

Meaning of Understanding Myself and My Happiness

Lee Hye-jin (PhD Program, UST-Korea Institute of Industrial Technology (KITECH) School, Green Process and System Engineering Major)

Lee Hye-jin recalls being “ambitious” in her school years; she had a strong desire to be the best and to be successful. The fact that she graduated summa cum laude from college with perfect grade shows what a perfectionist she is. However, her impeccable performance was accompanied with stress. After graduating with a degree in Chemical Engineering from Seoul National University, she had a moment to reflect on her past, thinking to herself, “What should I do now?” “What would make me happy?,” and began her search for happiness. Let’s find out if she found her own happiness.

Despite Having Two Children, the Dream Still Goes On

Lee, feeling exhausted after she finished her master’s degree, developed her interest in psychology and human relationships. While she was exploring other fields of study, she encountered a change in her mind that freed herself from the impatience and pressure that kept her going relentlessly for success. This change helped her reduce her stress and stay more relaxed.

When she let go of what didn’t work out for her, she had time to explore bold ideas, which sometimes turned out to give her clues to her life. “Living this way is not necessarily the answer,” she thought. What she truly needed was an understanding of herself and her own happiness.

When she was mentally prepared, she thought about what she enjoyed doing and what made her happy. She found an obvious answer in research which allowed her to develop something new. The Korea Women in Science and Technology Support Center offered her chance to enter Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) where she enjoyed her new path at a lab.

“My coworkers and doctors who I worked with were such great people. The lab was always full of happy energy, too. I thought it would be fun to work at a lab like this. Since I have already started this path, I decided to make it all the way to the doctor’s degree.”

It was at KIST that she learned about UST. She liked that UST was running many support programs for students and that she can work at a lab. It was hard to assess the performance herself at a regular graduate school where her research was limited to fundamental technology. Around this time when her decision on a doctoral program was made, she also got married. While she was looking for a way to continue the research she was doing at KIST, Doctor Lee Hyun-ju, who teaches at UST, introduced her to Professor Kim Yong-jin at Korea Institute of Industrial Technology (KITECH)

My Driving Force, “Power of Relationship”

Juggling her personal life that involves marriage, giving birth and raising a child, and working and studying all at the same time can’t possibly be easy, especially for one person that can only handle so much responsibility. Despite all this, however, her ability to manage everything was ascribed to not only her effort but to the people around her. While she and her husband are at work, her mom takes care of the child. Her husband is also actively engaged in parenting and housework after work. Her coworkers are considerate of her situation and try to help. She has assembled the ultimate team.

“My academic advisor Professor Kim Yong-jin played a big role in this. He always treats students respectfully. Besides study or research, he offers a lot of advice on life, as well. When I was pregnant with my first child, he organized a baby shower with friends at the lab. I was deeply grateful.”

Having to handle personal life doesn’t just apply to UST students; not a lot of people are free from the responsibility that comes with marriage, childbirth and childcare because these are crucial parts of our lives. People often see these issues conflict with their career and have to prioritize one over another. In Lee’s case, her conflict was her research and her home life. Lee became interested in this issue after she experienced it herself.

“I think how the world sees and treats working moms should change in order to foster a more comfortable environment for them. It would be beneficial if coworkers are willing to help them. My coworkers at the lab are very thoughtful, especially when I can’t stay at the lab until late to take care of my kid. So I try to do as much as I can when I’m at the lab and to help my coworkers in return.”

Doing My Best with What Is Given to Me without Obsessing

Lee is in the fourth year of her doctorate. While she was at UST, she had her first child and she is about to give birth to the second. By the time this article is published, her second child will have been brought into the world. She plans to be back to where she belongs after a six-month maternity leave. UST’s support and consideration was essential in being able to manage going to school and caring for two children at the same time.

Lee studies Chemical Engineering. She researches C1 refinery―a process of producing useful substances using substances with one C―and catalytic conversion of biomass. In other words, she develops an environmentally friendly catalytic process. Catalytic engineering is a branch of Green Chemistry, which explores technologies that utilize chemistry in an environmentally friendly way. She hopes this work will contribute to making the world a better place.

Lee is undoubtedly a hard worker who does not miss out on taking an active part in UST’s student support program. She was selected in the International Research Exchange Support Program and went to the conference in Singapore as well as showed an outstanding performance in the Young Scientist Research Program. Her goal is to continue the same field of study as a postdoc abroad. She wants to bring her children with her just like she always did to every business trip or international conference.

“I’m not going to pressure myself to do the perfect job in studying or parenting. Even if I’m not satisfied with the performance, I want to commit myself to what is given to me at the moment.”