A Lion in the Sky
Jung Yu-jin, the first Hanyang student in the NEREC fellowship program
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As of February 2018, there are more than 30 countries worldwide depending on nuclear power, with about 510 reactors and 160 currently in development. Moreover, there are five remaining Nuclear Weapon States (NWS) in the world. Despite the huge amount of electricity that nuclear reactors generate, the world is heading towards nonproliferation and inhibition of further development due to various security and health issues that could potentially affect everyone on the planet.
The Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology's (KAIST's) Nuclear Nonproliferation Education and Research Center (NEREC) offers a scholarship to a limited number of excellent students in Korea, and Jung Yu-jin (Political Science and International Studies, Master’s program) was the first Hanyangian to be nominated in its three-year history.
One of the main agendas in the quest for international security is nuclear proliferation, due to the terrorizing destructiveness of the weapon. Although it is left in the hands of international relations professionals, many social science students face a psychological barrier when dealing with the technical aspect of the nuclear energy. Understanding the highly complicated process of nuclear division and the fundamentals of weaponizing it or using it as a power source is somewhat critical, setting a limit for social science students. The same applies for nuclear engineering students too. KAIST, one of the leading science institutes, along with Hanyang University, in Korea, founded the NEREC fellowship program aiming to co-research with social science majors in their master's or doctoral program on the issue of nuclear nonproliferation.
Counting its third year in 2018, the research fellows have come from various prestigious schools, while Jung is the first Hanyangian member of the group. Jung submitted a research plan with the focus on international nuclear nonproliferation policies in relation to hegemony (leadership or dominance by one country). “The details of the paper will constantly change in the process,” mentioned Jung. The research fellows will conduct their own research until October, having monthly meetings with their academic advisors.
International politics as a life career
Jung first found her interest in the field when she volunteered at the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit. “I was a third year Policy Studies student, who only knew that this summit was internationally significant but nothing else,” smiled Jung. By having the chance to closely observe the decision making and conference process, her academic interest in nuclear policies grew. This led her to join the Work English Study Travel (WEST) program to work in big organizations that are based in Washington D.C. “When I was working for the Voice of America, I was able to interview and march with the people who support affirmative action. The experience helped me a lot when studying American politics later on,” mentioned Jung. As such, she persued her interest in international politics and nuclear policies trying to experience as much as she could. “I decided to study further after such experiences, especially at Hanyang where the faculty is great and I feel comfortable,” emphasized Jung. She also mentioned that watching theories being applied to real life helped her to cultivate her academic imagination and still inspires her so much.
Because studying and experiencing international politics is so exciting for Jung, she plans to apply to begin studying for her doctorate degree this year. “I should focus on the research project in NEREC and my graduation paper; then I look forward to working in research facilities in Korea before I set off to the U.S. for my doctorate degree,” planned Jung with sparkling eyes.
Kim So-yun firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos by Choi Min-ju
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