Receiving the Best Student Paper Award: First Prize
Going deep into American society
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Four of the juniors from the Department of English Language and Literature, Kim Su-bin, Kang Na-rim, Park Su-bin, and Lee Kyu-won, received the Best Student Paper Award: First Prize from the academic competition recently held by The American Studies Association of Korea (ASAK) on the 12th of May. The competition had the main theme of presenting a paper on any aspect of American society.
The four students focused their paper upon how sex education is taught in American schools, and compared the relatively progressive programs to the relatively conservative ones. For the conservative side, Park and Lee targeted Mississippi and Texas, respectively, while Kim and Kang concentrated on Massachusetts and California for the progressive side.
Interesting differences were found between the conservative and progressive states. Mississippi and Texas, the conservative side, focused their sex education upon self-control and moderation rather than on contraceptive methods. According to Park, it seemed as if the politicians from the conservative states were sensitive to the topic and found it uncomfortable to set a curriculum for the subject.
On the other hand, Massachusetts and California were much more open to providing detailed sex education to school students. Rather than preaching to students to simply remain abstinent, the two states focused on teaching students how to have a healthier sex life. Taking a step further, some schools in Massachusetts not only taught methods of contraception but also provided birth-control tools to students. Such differences led the four students to conclude that educational curriculums should be free from political bias and become more unified within the American society.
It was Professor Lee Hyung-seob (Department of English Language and Literature) who first suggested the students participate in this competition. Once they started their research, the four students received only minimal help from the professor. This allowed the students to have higher levels of responsibility and devotion towards their research. “When sharing our work at the actual competition, it seemed as if the other teams had actually received help from professionals. Conducting the whole paper through our own strength allowed us to become more proud of our results,” stated Kim.
When asked to give advice to those who are interested in academic competitions, Lee and Kim emphasized the importance of setting an interest theme, as continuous interest in the subject is the key to producing better results. Park also mentioned good teamwork, which requires a lot of responsibility. At last, the four students concordantly said their dedication to the research was the key factor that bore such a positive result.
Choi Seo-yong firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos by Kang Cho-hyun
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