M.A. Fellowship for Korean studies

2020-2021 Fellows

Frederick Kwon

Frederick Kwon is a first year M.A. student at the Elliott School of International Affairs Asian Studies Program. He completed his B.A. in International Affairs at the Elliott School with a concentration in security policy and minor in Korean language and culture. Frederick plans to continue his study of international security policy and international relations in Asia with a specific focus on the Korean peninsula. Frederick has interned at the Department of State where he contributed to the drafting and editing of various cables, memos, and reports and provided Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) assistance for the Office of Korean Affairs. The internship as well as his continued study of international affairs has inspired him to pursue a career in the foreign service. Frederick is also interested in joining the US intelligence community or federal law enforcement agency to apply his knowledge and skillsets to protect US national security from international, as well as domestic, threats.

Hope Klingensmith

Hope Klingensmith is a first year Asian Studies MA student at George Washington University focusing on the Korean peninsula, soft power, and US-ROK relations. Her passion for East Asian international relations began after she received the US Department of State’s National Security Language Initiative for Youth’s Korean Academic Year scholarship and spent a year in Incheon, South Korea intensively studying Korean and learning about Korean culture from her peers at a local high school. Curious about the role of language and public diplomacy in international relations, Hope majored in linguistics and minored in international relations at the University of Florida. She held several State Department internships throughout college, including a Korean press internship for the Bureau of Global Public Affair’s Foreign Press Center and a Korean section internship for the Foreign Service Institute’s School of Language Studies. After graduating from UF, Hope moved to Washington, DC to work full-time at the Foreign Service Institute and pursue her graduate education at GW. She is interested in researching both inter-Asian relations and US-Asian relations, particularly as it relates to the Korean peninsula and public diplomacy strategy. She hopes to enter the civil service and work on Korean policy issues in the State Department after obtaining her master’s degree. Hope currently works full-time as a contractor for the US Department of State as the Iraq Team Lead for the Division of Orientation and In-Processing.

Sarah (Bo Young) Jeong

Sarah (Bo Young) Jeong is a first year M.A. student majoring in Korea Studies. She applied to GW because she is interested in the inter-Korea relationship and the relationship between the US and North Korea. Without the GWIKS scholarship, she never would have been able to come to GW and meet others who share the same interests. Her long-term professional goal is to become a regional expert on the Korean Peninsula, and coming to GW made her realize that she can actually achieve my dream. The school offers so many support systems, networking, and internship opportunities even during times of COVID. The best thing about GW is its location, and she never thought she would be living just 5 minutes away from the Lincoln Memorial, White House, Capitol Hill and the Washington Monument! All in all, coming to GW was one of the best decisions she has ever made. 

Soeun Lee

Soeun Lee is an M.A. candidate for the Asian Studies program, specializing in Korea and International Political Economy. She focuses her current academic study on trans-pacific and inter-Korea relations. Soeun has served as a Director of Korean Affairs at the Organization of Asian Studies (OAS) for AY 2019-2020 and is now serving as a Director of Public Affairs for AY 2020-2021. She was a Graduate Research Assistant at GWIKS for AY 2019-2020 and has been working at the international development research and consulting firm in Korea since May 2020. She studied Economics and International Studies with a minor in East Asian Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison before coming to George Washington University.


Stephanie DeMeyer is a first-year M.A. student in the International Development Studies program, concentrating on Korea, migration, and disability inclusion. She completed a B.A. in American Sign Language and a B.S. in Communications at Lamar University. Her love of sign languages and the Deaf community led her to focus on disability inclusion on an international level. Stephanie explored this interest by interning at the World Federation of the Deaf in Helsinki, Finland. Stephanie is also fascinated by the impact of migration on development and is particularly interested in the flow from Southeast Asia to Korea. Her goal is to improve data collection on migrants and refugees with disabilities in this region. Stephanie has been learning Korean for several years through self-study, but hopes to go to Korea as soon as possible to fully immerse herself in the language!

2019-2020 Fellows

Brittany Robinson

Britt Robinson is a first-year MA student at the Elliott School of International Affairs concentrating in Asian Studies. She earned her BA in East Asian Studies at the College of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph, Minnesota. She received intensive language training in Mandarin Chinese and Korean at the University of Minnesota. In 2018 she served as an American delegate for the Korean American Student Conference in Seoul, South Korea and collaborated with her peers to develop bilateral U.S.-R.O.K. environmental policy proposals. She spent the last year working on the development team for Liberty in North Korea, a 501(c)3 nonprofit that assists in rescuing and resettling North Korean refugees. At the Elliott School of International Affairs, her academic research will focus on Korean peninsula security and gender policy.

Ru Kim

Ru Kim is a graduate of Indiana University and a current graduate student at the Elliott School of International Affairs studying International Economic Affairs with a regional focus in East Asia. In the summer of 2017, Ru spent three months in Seoul, South Korea where she learned the ins and outs of what it means to be a diplomat as she interned at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, South Korea. Ru is beyond excited to be attending George Washington University to continue her studies and gain the skills to become a diplomat, academic, and future policy-maker on issues of North Korea, South Korea, Japan, the United States, and China.

Seawon Inn

Seawon Inn finished her undergraduate at Sungkyunkwan University in South Korea majoring in History. During her undergraduate years, Seawon had a chance to spend time in China and Canada to improve my language skills while also experiencing diverse cultures. As a history major student, she has been very impressed by the reality of the political issues regarding the Korean Peninsula and North Korea after she participated in the Northeast Asian History field trip last year. She likes to study more in-depth about the unification issue of Korea as well as the US policy toward the Korean Peninsula with regard to international affairs. Seawon is very excited to join this wonderful program with people sharing a common interest!

Yunju Jeong

Yunju is a new enrolled MA student at the Elliot School of International Affairs. She earned her BA in International Business and Arabic Translation and Interpretation from the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. She spent her junior year of undergraduate in Oman serving an internship at the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency in Muscat and studying Arabic at Sultan Qaboos College for Teaching Arabic To Non-Native Speakers in Manah. 

Catherine Kirby

Catherine Kirby is a first year MA student at the Elliott School of International Affairs concentrating in Security Policy Studies. She graduated from Rice University in Houston, TX with a BA in Political Science. She currently works full time at Capital One as a Business Analyst creating anti-money laundering and anti-fraud rules. In high school, she taught herself Korean and developed a passion for international relations. She hopes to use her masters program to focus on Korean security policy and U.S.-ROK relations.

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