Outstanding graduate exceeds expectations

Sooyeon Kim, senior from Seoul, South Korea, is studying in preparation for her last exams at Murray State. || Chris Wilcox/The News

Murray State’s outstanding spring graduate has big dreams.

Sooyeon Kim, senior from Seoul, South Korea, was the only applicant who met the requirements for the award this semester and is the first international student to receive it.

“It makes me feel a little excited and kind of special,” Kim said. “I guess I like to be the first in everything.”

Kim is a double major in pre-medicine and biology and has maintained a 4.0 GPA all four years at school. Over the past four years she has participated in 21 extracurricular activities and six volunteer and community service functions.

She said out of everything she has participated in, her favorite has been being a residential adviser at Hart College. She said, as an RA she has to deal with challenges on a daily basis, but the satisfaction of being able to help students with hard situations in their lives outweighs any difficulties.

After graduation, Kim plans on pursuing her dream of becoming a physician. She wants to attend medical school at the University of Kentucky.

She said it is because whenever she visits an operating room, she feels like she is meant to be there. She loves to watch doctors operate on patients and hopes some day she will be able to do the same.

“It is quite a privilege to be that someone who a person gives such trust and respect. It is all about the people you attend to,” she said.

Before moving to Kentucky, Kim had never heard of Murray State and she said she had few expectations from such a small towm.

“Who would have thought there could be so much excitement here?” Kim said.

The faculty, staff and her peers have always made her feel like a part of the community, she said.

She has been away from her family in South Korea since she was 16 and has relied on her faith in God to get her through, she said.

James Cox, interim chair of the College of Science, Engineering and Technology, has been a great influence and mentor for her during her time as a student she said.

Kim said Cox has always been interested in helping his students and goes above and beyond the requirements to make sure they get the guidance they need.

“I have always been able to come to him,” she said. “He has really helped me along the way.”

Cox said Kim has a firm intellectual grounding and a passion for the sciences.

“She has a great deal of tenacity and certainly strives for excellence in her academic pursuits,” he said. She has been a great example of the spirit of Murray State. Maximizing her talents has allowed her to go on to the next level.”

Mike Young, assistant vice president of Student Affairs, said the outstanding senior is selected from a pool of students who were selected as “Who’s­­­­­ Who.” A panel of students and faculty choose these recipients.

He said the committee, composed of faculty, looks for the most outstanding students who have excelled both academically and in their co-curricular pursuits. He said it was important the outstanding graduate balance both aspects.

Said Young: “She has done what you hope a student would do by taking advantage of all the opportunities presented to you as a college student.”