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Masters Environmental Health, Multilingual Korean Woman

Updated: Jun 13

I am a Korean woman who is as well-traveled as I am well-read. Since adolescence, when I lost my grandmother, a non-smoker, to lung cancer, I have focused significant attention on the scourge of air pollution and made it my life’s work. I hope to be selected for the incredibly competitive Master’s Program in Environmental Health at XXXX University due to my extensive preparation across several critically important Asian countries and my great passion for progressive advancement in environmental protection. I lived in Hong Kong for several years as a child, which did wonders for my English. My particular interests lie in Southeast Asia, most of which I have gotten to know. I speak French and Mandarin Chinese, which I look forward to using professionally alongside English and my native Korean. In addition to Asia, I also dream of someday getting to know French-speaking Africa professionally.

I have also gotten to know the Philippines quite well. I have spent especially significant periods working on behalf of the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) in Fiji, supporting the WHO’s climate change project. In Bangkok, Thailand, I co-organized the Thematic Working Group-Air Quality meeting and the Health Impact Assessment workshop. My professional experiences thus far leave me fully convinced that I want to devote my life first and foremost to combatting air pollution, and I seek to do this to the fullest extent and in the most productive manner possible. This is why I have my heart set on earning the Master’s Degree in Environmental Health at XXXX University rather than another institution because I am convinced that earning my degree at Harvard will prepare me for making my total contribution to the struggle against air pollution for the balance of my professional life. I want to be an epidemiologist who is remembered for my devotion to the issue of climate change, controlling air pollution, and the general relationship between environmental factors and the epidemiology of the disease.

My ideal job would be working for the WHO or another research institution with a similar mission. Even though I am still an undergraduate student, I have extensive professional and especially research experience in Environmental Health. In 2015, I did a 6-month internship in the Health and Environment Unit with the WHO. I worked for the GIS/Remote Sensing Lab, where I improved my GIS skills enormously. I also completed an internship at the Seoul National Medical school and conducted research as a lead author. This year I drafted a WHO Air Pollution Report, communicating with each ministry of health and environment in 10-member states of the WHO. Thus, I am incredibly familiar with air-quality status and governmental measures in each country, a member state of the WHO, most of which are underdeveloped countries in Asia.

I majored in French in high school and also studied Chinese language, culture, and history for six semesters of undergraduate studies, helping me better understand multiculturalism and diversity issues. I have a particular interest in the environmental status of each Asian country, their industry structure and level, and patterns of energy consumption, especially as relevant to transboundary air pollution issues that must be tackled in the context of global cooperation. My undergraduate focus on climate change and environmental economics helped me foster extensive knowledge of several Asian countries and my own, Korea and China. I attended Sukmyeong Women's University for a year because a professor there designed Korea’s ‘greenhouse gas emission trading system.' The ability to speak several different Asian languages will help me to excel as an environmental epidemiologist fighting viruses and diseases in Asia. When there is a national emergency like a MERS event, every government must inform their status to WHO because the event is also threatening adjacent countries. Therefore, telling other countries about their group with accuracy and speed is essential. With my language skills, I could facilitate those processes and ultimately contribute to the outbreak of diseases.

Another reason why my professional hopes and dreams are focused on Harvard because my research interests so closely follow those of Dr. Joel Schwartz, with who it would be a special honor to study under. I possess extensive knowledge about air quality status and governmental actions related to air pollution, mainly because of my communication with officials in the Korean Ministry of Health via email. I stay in touch with WHO environmental health specialists and stay up to date on events and issues with air pollution, especially concerning Asia.

Even though I am still an undergraduate student, I have extensive research experience in Environmental Health with my 6-month internship with the WHO and another internship with the Seoul National Medical school, conducting research as a lead author.

I thank you for considering my application to Environmental Health at XXXX.

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