Big Changes Ahead

by Rosa Maria Santana

Haeyoung Yoon

Recent graduate Haeyoung Yoon plays a key campaign role with the Korean American community in Los Angeles.

Her political career already crosses continents and cultures. In the summer of her junior year at Scripps College, Haeyoung Yoon ’12 advocated for injured migrant workers while on an internship for a nongovernmental organization in South Korea.

“It was an awesome experience,” says the 22-year-old. But, the work was limiting.

Yoon realized that in order to help improve the lives of Southeast Asian migrant workers who sought jobs in South Korea, politicians needed to intervene and propose legislation that would protect the laborers whenever they were injured at work.

The politics and international relations major returned from that internship determined to pursue a career in politics. When she spotted a Scripps College Career Planning & Resources posting announcing an internship for a significant political campaign in Los Angeles, she applied and interviewed with fellow alumna Emma Lowry ’09—who is also on the campaign—before being selected.

Since spring 2012, Yoon has worked as an intern on Los Angeles City Councilmember Eric Garcetti’s campaign for mayor of this country’s second-largest city.

“This is another type of education that I’m getting outside of the classroom,” Yoon says of the campaign.

Yoon, who is fluent in Korean, has served as the campaign’s informal liaison to Los Angeles’ influential Korean American community, among other roles.

“Many Angelenos are happy to see a Korean American on the campaign trail,” she says. While at the College, Yoon was an intern at various organizations that offered her a variety of hands-on experiences. In the fall of her junior year, she taught English to elementary-age students in France. During her summer as a sophomore, she interned at a public policy think tank in South Korea.

“Traveling is very important—to see how people in other cultures live and how that can challenge your values. It makes you a well-rounded person when you get out of your comfort zone and meet people from other countries,” Yoon says.

Eventually, Yoon would like to return to South Korea, where her family lives, to get involved in its politics.

“We’ll see where I go in life. I want to be part of big changes. I plan to remain in politics.”

 

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