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Shimin Park

Hey there, Hawkeyes! Over the next few days, we’ll be posting a series of interviews with students who were selected to be members of the President’s Leadership Class. Our first interview is with Shimin Park!

Applications for the program were due today, so look for an email in the near future to see if you were accepted! Get excited, Hawkeyes!

Hometown: Cheongju, South Korea

Year in school: Second year

Major: Double majoring in Sociology and Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies, minor in Political Science, and certificate in Social Sciences and Analytics

What organizations are you involved with on campus?

I am the president of Love Works, an all-inclusive Christian organization that focuses on giving back to the community and welcoming everyone. Regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or ability, we provide a space for people to come together to talk about social justice and faith. Especially, Love Works being LGBTQ+ affirming is a characteristic that I regard with high importance.

I have also been involved in the Hawkeye Service Break program and am currently a member of the United Nations at Iowa, serving on the outreach and engagement committee, and an intern at the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights.

How did you first hear about these organizations? What drew you to them?

I heard about Love Works from the mass email that was sent out by the then-president during my first year on campus. Please read those emails! You never know when an incredible experience could come out of one of them! I encourage people to read through them and see if you find any organizations that align with your values.

I also consider myself vigilant about what is occurring on campus. I check out newsletters, websites, and advertisements, and this is how I found out about most of my other opportunities. For the UN at Iowa, after becoming a member because of its purpose and mission were what I firmly believed in, I found out that the president of the organization is who I became friends with last year, which, not only was it awesome to realize that my friends values aligned with mine in such a refreshing way, but it also motivated me to get myself more involved in the organization. This is one of my favorite things about networking and building connections with people - you get to interact with them in many different ways. I would strongly recommend that students step out of their comfort zone and approach new people, because you never know what kind of lasting impact a chance encounter may have!

As a member of the President’s Leadership Class, could you please describe the impact the course had on you and how it challenged you to think about what it means to be a leader?

I developed my own personal style of leadership through the President’s Leadership Class, and for me this was servant leadership. I enjoy supporting others to achieve their goals and meet their needs first, encouraging them, and setting an atmosphere that makes people feel safe and secure where everyone can flourish. I also learned how to focus on my strengths rather than weaknesses and to manage my energy.

How have you applied what you learned in the PLC to the organizations you are involved with today?

I’m involved in quite a few things, and it can feel difficult to balance my academics, internships, and extracurriculars. However, I learned how to take care of my own well-being first and set healthy boundaries for my involvement. An organization can only be as effective as its leader, and I know how to keep myself less-stressed so as to be the most effective leader I can be.

What should students know before applying to the PLC? What advice would you have to students about what they should expect?

Don’t be afraid to reach out to students who have been part of President's Leadership Class in the past! I know it can be difficult and even intimidating to make those first steps, but once you do, we might surprise you with how friendly we are! I would personally love to make time to sit down with anyone who is interested in applying to talk about my experience with the class or anything really!

How has being a member of the President’s Leadership Class or other organizations on campus shaped your goals for the future?

I really value building relationships with people, so listening to the visions of others and talking with them about their plans helped me to plan a vision for my own future during my next few years at Iowa and after I graduate. I have learned how to be more intentional with the way I act as a role model to others after closely viewing the actions of those whom I would consider stellar role models based on their behaviors and communication styles.

What has your most proud or memorable moment as a student leader at the University of Iowa?

This isn’t a single moment but being a leader in Love Works has been a wonderful experience. People come up to me and tell me how much it means to them that an organization like Love Works exists, and that we make them so happy. It means so much to me, too, because that is the exact same emotion I felt when I first joined the organization. We are making people who have felt excluded by their faith feel welcomed and accepted for who they are, which is something that they may have not experienced before. That makes me so proud.