Narrowing the Gap between Reality and the Ideal (Ji-eun Lee, UST-KIST Campus)
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- Registration Date : 2016-06-29
Everybody has a dream. But, not all of them realize their dream. Some of them make their dreams come true, while some end up just dreaming their dreams. To reach a goal, we need to draw a feasible plan and make efforts that would help us narrow the gap between reality and the ideal. Ji-eun Lee, one of our alumnae decided to approach her dream one step at a time rather than just vaguely expecting a positive future. Now in her first year with LG Chem, she keeps advancing toward her dreams.
I have been working for almost one year for LG Chem since last July. I work with the Validation Team in the Vehicle Battery Development Center of LG Chem. The Vehicle Battery Development Center literally researches and develops vehicle batteries. At the center, I am in charge of validating the functions and safety of the batteries. LG Chem is the global number one company in the secondary battery industry. I had been longing to enter the company for so long that I feel very proud of the company and myself.
What made you interested in vehicle batteries?
To answer the question, I need to talk about my undergraduate school years. My undergraduate major was new material engineering, and while I studied about various industry materials, such as steel and ceramic, I came to feel interested in the energy industry. I searched for a graduate school course where I could study more about energy-related fields, and in the end, I got admission to UST. In my major course of energy and environmental engineering at the KIST campus, I conducted a research on cathode materials that are used for secondary batteries. Like this, I narrowed the range of my interest into a more specific field starting from new materials to energy industry and then to secondary batteries; now, I am here.
Do you have any particular reason for choosing UST?
Most of all, at UST, I can use research equipment as much as I want. That was the strongest point. Those research equipment are very expensive that only few of other general graduate schools allow their students to use them. Also, in Korea, it’s rare to find a major course that deals with materials and the environment at the same time.
UST laboratories are very well-organized for students who want to lead a research project for a subject of their interest by themselves. Thanks to my research experience at UST, I think I proactively act in my current job. From various aspects, UST was my best choice.
How did you prepare for job applications?
I had heard a lot about the bad job market, and engineering majors aren’t an exception. So, I tried to build up my own qualifications that would be required by the job market―such as license and others―and I actively participated in the education program about secondary battery that was supported by the school. I steadily made efforts to prepare for getting a job after my graduation.
Anyway, my greatest concern at that time was about writing my dissertation and doing my job hunting at the same time. Indeed, I began applying for jobs in earnest since last March. Thankfully, my advisor, Won-chang Choi, helped me my research project before it happened. Professor Choi stressed that it was not only the study subjects that were right in front of us but also our plans for our career path after graduation that were important. His realistic advice and consideration were so helpful to me. I want to take advantage of this interview to express my gratitude to him.
Now, you may be adapting yourself to the company. What kind of efforts do we need to make to make ourselves more capable at jobs?
I think the most important is physical strength. The minimum unit of a vehicle battery weighs about one kilogram and, usually, we combine a number of batteries to weigh 200 to 300 kilograms. Naturally, the validation process requires strong physical capability to handle them. Physical strength is the basic qualification in carrying out a research project. To build up my fitness, I go cycling with my colleagues or go to gym.
Do you have any moment when you feel proud of yourself as a USTian?
When I had the job interview with the company I work for now, I recognized that UST was much more known than I thought. One of the interviewer asked me which campus I belonged to. If you do not know about UST well, you would not know that each research institute has its own campus. I found that people outside the school were also interested in it, and I felt so proud of my school.
Additionally, one of the senior school colleagues who I got along well with in the lab joined the company at the same time. In some sense, it is possible because UST is trusted by the industries.
Can you give a piece of advice to USTians?
The most important thing in graduate school is your research project undoubtedly. But for your career path, other than being engaged only in research, you better prepare for life after graduation by learning foreign languages, acquiring a license related to your major, or others. Hopefully, you can successfully prepare for your future after graduation while you continue your study.