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

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

Establish global status as a national research university

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Providing creative educational environment by applying cutting-edge technology
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Dreaming of a Community where We Learn and Progress Together

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  • Registration Date : 2019-02-27
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Reflections on Teaching

Dreaming of a Community where We Learn and Progress Together

Professor Jongmin Lee (UST)

On every winter and summer, UST Newcomers’ Odyssey program takes place for new students at UST. The Odyssey features courses and sessions designed to help new students adjust to UST life and includes liberal arts, programming, statistics, Internet of Things projects, and Korean language and culture class for international students, for four weeks. Since the session is an intensive course over a short period with students, staff, and faculty all aboard, they both reach their limits in energy near the end. Professor Jongmin Lee was no exception. The intensive schedule of the programs made his overall expression to be full of fatigue, but whenever he tells a story about classes and students, his energy level becomes full again as if fatigue never came by.

Science and Technology―Bridge to the Society

“Unlike incoming students at other universities, most of UST students studied at the other universities and have very few common experiences,” says Professor Lee. “Also, the research institutes they are part of tend to consist of lots of researchers where UST students are the minority of minorities. Therefore, it is critical to form a sense of membership and identity through such new student sessions. This can also be claimed to be the first step of building a knowledge community with government-funded research institutes ? in other words, it is the first step towards building a true community that engages in learning together and shares the difficulties of daily life. This is also the main reason I feel energized despite the challenging schedules.”

Professor Lee teaches STS (Science, Technology, and Society) at UST headquarters. It is a field that attempts to identify the social values and public implications of science, technology, environment and medicine through humanities and social sciences. Professor Lee states, “It is a field that helps students understand what they want to do and how it can contribute to the society from a broader perspective.”

He used the term “Bridge” as a metaphor. It is a term that not only applies to his area of focus, but it is also a term describes his life path. Professor Lee has a unique academic background of studying engineering, natural science, humanities, and social sciences. After he received a Bachelor’s degree in electric engineering from Seoul National University, he advanced to a graduate school to study the history and philosophy of science, which marked a noticeable shift in academic directionality.

“While I loved science and engineering, I always dreamed of something more that connects science and engineering with the bigger society,” he says. “I think this was why I sought out history and sociology classes, and why I worked for a student newspaper, became a tutor for less privileged students, and volunteered for NGOs. And while engaging in these fields, I came to realize what I am truly interested in.”

Ecosystem of Research, Education, Life, and Society

It was not an easy task for an engineering student like him to learn the research methods of humanities and social sciences. When struggled, he thought to himself: “I might as well finish what I began,” Professor Lee became determined to further his pursuit after obtaining his Master’s degree, by obtaining his Ph.D. from Virginia Tech in the U.S. Then, he taught students at University of Virginia for more than 3 years and later came to UST. From this less typical path of learning, Professor Lee believes that he gained more empathy toward students who often find themselves in complicated situations and experiences identity crisis.

부산 사나이가 사는 법 “그저 가볍게”의 사진6   He said, “As my major STS walks the fine line between science and society and with my life experience constantly crossing different fields, I always put the verb ‘connect’ in my mind. I am currently working on a project that looks into the issues of environmental policy, regulatory science, and social movement in the U.S. and Korea from the perspective of changes in expertise and governance. As a researcher, I wish to connect science and technology to society, and as an educator, I wish to make contributions in combining knowledge with life.”

While stating his dream to “contribute to building an ecosystem of science and technology with a virtuous cycle that connects research and education with society,” Professor Lee wanted to tell this story to UST students who are just taking their next step in their lives.

“Researchers are lonely by definition. It is because a researcher is with a profession where one must find a topic and craft an answer on one’s own. Whenever we find ourselves in a situation where we doubt whether it is a right path, to have confidence is utmost important. Even if there are absolutely no one to believe in you, it is critical for you to believe your own potentials and capabilities. Also, a researcher must enjoy research continuously. I still find myself in the process of realizing the deep joy of research, but I wish to reach out to those who are willing to follow this path together. Furthermore, the life of a researcher requires patience in many ways. Like a bean sprout which looks nearly the same but is growing with daily watering, please do not forget that we may only find something visible after spending countless hours working on something not visible.”