Strong Inside and Out
An outcome of will, effort, and determination
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A possessor of a doctor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, a violinist, and an air force pilot officer are three titles that seem distantly irrelevant, as they do not overlap in their boundaries, and, perhaps, due to the awareness that each title takes a strenuously long time to achieve. Surprisingly, as it turns out, they could all belong to a single person who has passion and definite goals for the future. Youn Sung-hee (Mechanical Engineering Integrated Masters/Doctoral program, ’17) is a recently commissioned pilot officer from the Republic of Korea Air Force who obtained her Integrated Masters/Doctoral degree from Hanyang University. Youn shared her compelling story with News H this week.
Up until when she was a first grader in high school, Youn specialized in violin. She has numerous experience performing with a music band and also in solo performance, originally having planned to enter the school of music. When asked what has suddenly inspired her to get interested in mechanical engineering in the middle of majoring in violin, Youn answered in a convincing voice: “I was in the class room one day and heard a loud noise from a helicopter that was distractingly loud. I was triggered to think of ways to reduce the noise pollution coming from the helicopters, then I decided that I would study mechanical engineering to get expert knowledge to better address the problem.” This turning point in her youth resulted in who she is today. She started to catch up with science and math in high school in preparation to study mechanics later. She received her bachelor’s degree in three years, majoring in Physics. Afterwards, she entered the Hanyang Graduate School of Mechanical Engineering and obtained her masters/doctoral degree, further nourishing her dream of becoming a researcher of weapon systems.
“As a female, I never even thought of becoming a military officer. I was hoping to become a researcher in the Agency for Defense Development or the Hanwha Corporation of Explosives, as I dreamed of contributing to the advancement of Korea’s National Army and its weapons.” It seems that the most powerful fuel that motivated her to devote her time and effort in studying the field of mechanical engineering and to become a military officer is her patriotism. While Youn was studying in Hanyang, she was involved in a project with the Agency for Defense Development. Meanwhile, she encountered another turning point. She came to realize that it is a soldier, not a civilian researcher who holds the key to diagnosing what the military truly needs. This led Youn to conclude that she must touch and observe the weapons herself in order to find out what and how to improve the current system.
Finally, and most importantly, Youn visited The Korea Institute of Military Science and Technology, where she met an air force lieutenant-colonel active in duty by chance. He offered to enlist her in the army and conduct her research after hearing Youn’s plans full of passion and patriotism. After a ponderous deliberation, Youn was convinced that she would do so. “I am very satisfied with how things are going in my life, and I am ready for what awaits me.”
Spreading the wings of a dream
Of the 310 officers that were commissioned alongside Youn, 16 were female, and Youn was one of them. She confessed that the 12 weeks of training were dreadful, as the training requires not only strong physical stamina but also mental volition. “It is true that the training was hard to endure as a female,” chuckled Youn, “however, I endured the hardship with a strong mindset. Plus, my stamina wasn’t that bad to begin with.” Believing in the famous phrase that a ‘citizen’s strength is national strength,’ she always exercised in her spare time when she was in graduate school. Although no strength is ever enough to endure the harsh training in the army, Youn’s relentless passion and dedication seem to have paved the way for her. “Of course, there are a lot of fun episodes to talk about. Secretly munching on the snacks hidden by the soldiers of the previous regime and getting caught looking at a playful companion painting the camouflage cream silly and more is one such. There are many little stories that make me smile.”
When Youn was studying in graduate school, she published a number of excellent papers. Two of them have been registered in the Science Citation Index, and one of which owns a patent for an optical system, which is related to protecting an aircraft from an enemy’s laser attack. Her research primarily dealt with the analysis of damage from a large output of laser. In other words, by analyzing how the damage is done to an air craft from a laser attack, the technology to prevent serious damage and protect the air craft can be invented. Youn is planning to continue her study because she values not only hands-on experience but also the academic background. “I am going to go on with my research studies to not lose touch with them!”
In this upcoming January, after the rest from basic education and training, Youn is entering the Air Force Logistics Command Aviation Technology Research Institute and getting down to her research. “Energizing Korea’s dignity is my life goal. I believe if Korea becomes stronger through solid infrastructure in terms of national defence, the country’s respectability could rise after which diplomacy and the tension from foreign relations could ease and our people could feel relieved. I am determined that it is my duty and responsibility to protect the people and the country. I am willing to devote my life into what I will be given with,” remarked Youn, heartfully.
Jeon Chae-yun firstname.lastname@example.org
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