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~Wellesley College's Jennifer Yum Wins Scholarship for
Graduate Study

For immediate release:
April 27, 2004

Arlie Corday,

WELLESLEY, Mass. -- Jennifer Yum of Tustin, Calif., a junior majoring in history and international relations, has been named a 2004 Beinecke Scholar at Wellesley College. The Beinecke Scholarship Program provides generous financial support for the graduate education of "young men and women of exceptional promise" who plan to attend graduate school in the arts, humanities and social sciences and provides $32,000 toward expenses for graduate study in M.A. or Ph.D. programs.

Each year approximately 100 colleges and universities are invited to nominate one student for a Beinecke Scholarship. Yum is one of 18 scholars honored this year. The daughter of Sinja and Yung Yum, she plans to pursue a Ph.D. in East Asian history.

While at Wellesley, Yum has been a contributor to Counterpoint, the MIT-Wellesley monthly journal, and has been an active performer in vocal music, including choral and opera productions. She received First Year Academic Distinction as well as the 2003 Barnette Miller Foundation Prize from the History Department. She has had a research paper, "Assessing the Fate of the Developmental State After Crisis: A South Korean Case Study," published in Hemispheres, the Tufts University Journal of International Affairs.

"My goal for the future lies in better understanding of the past. I seek to become a historian of East Asia," wrote Yum on her scholarship application. Growing up in a large Asian immigrant community in Los Angeles, she said, let her develop an early interest in her field of scholarsly endeavor. "My (Korean) parents gave me my first history lessons by sharing their memories of their homeland," Yum recalled.

History courses at Wellesley, Yum notes, "allowed me to see East Asis for the first time from an academic perspective." As a sophomore she took a pivotal course on Japanese colonialism that "pushed me to think beyond the moral narrative," and "set me on a path of academic growth that has brough me to my current aim to study history as my life's work."

For her Ph.D., she will need to be able to recognize nearly 5,000 Chinese characters and attain language proficiency in Korean, Japanese and Chinese, in addition to the required study of diverse historical contexts.

Last summer she worked as a reporter in training at the Chosun Ilbo, South Korea's largest newspaper. This experience allowed her to conduct research on heated issues such as the North Korean nuclear crisis, anti-Americanism and South Korean labor unrest, as she interviewed politicians, labor union leaders, journalists, professors and youth protestors. Particularly interested in the history of colonial Korea, her senior thesis will explore the role of the Chosun Ilbo in the Korean nationalist movement.

The Beinecke award will go a long way toward helping Yum realize her goals. "As a professor of East Asian history, I hope to share my knowledge, as well as my dedication to the discipline, to the next generation of students," she said. "To seek new insights and teach others to follow suit is the only way to ensure that curious minds will continue to look back and ask 'how' and why.'"

Since 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in providing an excellent liberal-arts education for women who will make a difference in the world. Its 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,300 undergraduate students from all 50 states and 68 countries. For more information, go to


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  • Date Modified: April 29, 2004
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