It gives me a great pleasure to write this short update on how attending the Academy of Achievement in 1990 has affected my life since then. I was a high school senior when I attended the Summit as a student delegate from Fresno, California. My attendance was sponsored by brothers Ernest and Julio Gallo; for their support, I have been always grateful. My life goal at that time was very modest, reflecting the financial challenges faced by my parents, who were trying to adjust to American life and culture. Only a few years earlier, our family arrived in Los Angeles from South Korea with few resources. The Summit was truly inspirational, highlighting the great human potential reflected in a set of amazing and successful individuals. At the same time, the Summit gave me a greater sense of my own potential than I had ever dreamed of. The experience has carried me through every major milestone in my life ever since:
I received my bachelor’s degree in biology from Reed College in Portland, Oregon. I continued my biological training as a graduate student in molecular and cellular biology at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I obtained my master’s and doctoral degrees from Harvard under the tutelage of Dr. Tom Maniatis, a pioneer of molecular cloning. I completed my postdoctoral training with Dr. Bing Ren at Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in La Jolla, California. After my postdoctoral training, I obtained a faculty position at Yale University, as an Assistant Professor and later Associate Professor. After eight years at Yale, I moved to the University of Texas at Dallas, where I am now an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. I am a recipient of the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award in 2004, the Rita Allen Foundation Scholar Award in 2007, the Sidney Kimmel Scholar Award in 2008, and the Alexander and Margaret Stewart Trust Fellowship in 2011. I am considered one of the pioneers in the development of genomics technologies for locating and analyzing transcription factors and histone modifications across the entire human genome.
Thank you so much for this opportunity to update the Academy on my life since the summit!