Move Forward While Believing in Your Own Star
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- Registration Date : 2014-11-19
(Lee Woo-kyeong, Lee hereafter) At dinners, I try to listen to what they worry about and give useful advice as a senior alumni. Back in my time, there were only a couple of students in astronomy and space science major but there are a dozen now.
As the number of students increases, their worries seem to increase as well.
Then for the next six years on my doctorate course, I participated in all steps of the KVN project, which helped me enhance my expertise. Working at the KASI was a natural post graduation.
(Lee) I majored in satellite orbital dynamics at a grad school. At the end of my master’s program, I had an opportunity to work at the KASI as a contract researcher. The team leader there recommended me the UST’s doctorate program. I also participated in development of secondary payload for Arirang-5, Korea’s multi-purpose satellite which was launched last year.
If that project continued, I would have stayed at the KASI after graduation just like Jeong did. However, the project was folded in the middle and I had to find somewhere else to go. That was when I ed to take a look at overseas programs. Based on my experience, I worked on my post-doctorate in the field of ionosphere. I eventually got a position at the KASI and now I am conducting applied research using GPS and GNSS at the Space Geodesy Division.
(Jeong) That is what students who we are going to meet tonight worry about the most. As the number of students has largely expanded, students show more concern about employment.
Still, at least so far, 100 percent of the UST graduates from the KASI campus successfully found a job at the KASI and I would like to encourage the students to sustain this great tradition.
I believe it is necessary for the UST and graduates to raise their voice so that various research institutes can have a more positive opinion towards students’ reemployment.
(Lee) I agree. The UST’s field-oriented education system is a definite strength, but it also can be a weakness when it comes to job search. USTians spend most of their time on research and practical tasks, therefore it is possible that other graduate students outperform them in terms of quantitative criteria.
I hope there is a administrative support for this.
(Jeong) Yes. I grew up in a small town by a mountain in Busan and that made me take interest in s and nature.
(Lee) I was interested in spacecrafts and satellites as well as stars. I had many questions about how space was created and how it works.
(Jeong) I think any UST student would know how difficult it can be to research and study at the same time. I also had ups-and-downs when I was here. That is why I want to tell them that enduring those curves is crucial. I constantly motivated and disciplined myself by imagining how I want myself to be after graduating from the UST.
Of course, setting a detailed objective and knowing what leads there should precede. For instance, if you’re given a project, you need to be able to find out how that project will pan out and how it can be linked to your own objective or vision.
(Lee) I think those who study pure science including astronomy and space science should never seeing the world in a broad perspective. The wider your perspective is, the more you realize how obscure your knowledge and capacity are.
In my case, post-doctorate program overseas helped significantly. I was highly motivated by many younger foreign students who researched with more passion and wrote more papers than me. No matter how busy you are with current projects on your hands, you still have to make time for writing papers, as pure scientists are evaluated by their papers.
I’d also like to suggest experiencing the academia abroad. Using your knowledge in a foreign country can be more beneficial than you imagine.
(Jeong) Lee just reminded me that the UST offers various overseas exchange programs. I strongly recommend these opportunities. I went to Japan for six months with the support from the UST and this experience is still helpful in collaboration and joint research even today.
Astronomy may seem irrelevant to our daily lives, but in a broader sense, it helps us expand our horizons by realizing how tiny we are in grand space. The same goes for my studies.
Though they may be just a small dot in the entire system of astronomy, I will put my best effort, believing they will make a contribution in the development of astronomy.
(Jeong) I‘m very honored and glad to teach my junior alumni. As a professor, my goal is to become a life mentor for all of my students, as Professor Sasao did for me in making decisions about the UST.
He is a very inspiring person. Even though he was over 70 years old, he studied Korean and Korean culture for his students and always presented thorough preparation for each class. I still dream to become a researcher like him.