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29th SeolBong Scholarship Award Ceremony


The 29th SeolBong Scholarship Ceremony Speech Summary
By Emily Choi

Esther Dong

Esther is a junior at Berklee College of Music studying Jazz Composition with a clear goal in mind. She strives to make music that is not only an art form, but also a medium to bridge people together. There was an event wherein she sacrificed a position that would increase her own success and spotlight for the betterment of the entire concert. In the music field, I imagine that it must have been very difficult for her to succeed her role, but she saw that the communal gain was greater than her individual gain. This act of sacrifice helped build her credible and honest reputation at her college. She continues to build that character so that music can be something people share and enjoy together, not something to just listen to. I wish her the best of luck in her career, and I wish to hear her compositions someday.

James Kim

James is in his third year of medical school at Boston University School of Medicine and his goal is to form honest and credible connections with his patients in rehabilitation. He said that the most important thing he learned about patients in rehabilitation is that they do not expect to bounce back 100% to health and they do not wish to hear about their lab values. Instead, they just want to be heard and spend quality time with their family as well as their healthcare providers. He also found that the doctors deemed most successful in various areas are those who form genuine, credible, and honest relationships with their patients. As a fellow student in healthcare, I fully agree; I hope James accomplishes his goals with the same empathy and honesty.


Sue Ryu

President Sue Ryu spoke about her father (Chairman Ryu)’s million-dollar mission which consisted of two parts. The first was a personal mission to provide for his family members who were not used to the different lifestyle in America compared to that of Korea. The second was a social mission which was far greater and rooted in motivation from his own experience. He recognized the power of education and wanted to get a higher education while studying abroad; however, he had to support himself financially because his father did not approve of him moving to Japan due to the dangers and tragedies his brothers had faced.

Knowing the power of education in combination with his personal experience motivated his mission to create a non-profit organization that would help those seeking education but only had limited financial resources. President Ryu encouraged us to find a mission that motivates us just as her father did. To succeed, she recalled the deeply impactful words, “Live honestly, work diligently, and nourish credibility… people and money will naturally follow you.” The short yet powerful words that touch me the most are, “credibility is the bloodline of life.” I know that these are the foundational pillars that I strive to build my reputation and character on as I find my greater mission in life as well.


Dr. Richard Park

Dr. Richard Park started his speech with a general introduction about himself and his family. He was born at Flushing Hospital, and he is a father to two boys aged 22 and 25 with his wife who immigrated to America at the age of 14. Dr. Park worked as an Emergency Room doctor for ten years, but opened an Urgent Care as a part of his mission because his two sons have Autism- the younger son being nonverbal. Later, he founded CityMD in 2019 with a partner whom he had known closely through college and church. Now, they own a private equity firm that invests in healthcare due to their combined previous expertise and passion for healthcare.

Dr. Park recalled his childhood as a Korean kid in Flushing living at Skyline Towers. The families who lived at this apartment complex who “made it” financially would move east to Long Island. This was the mark of success for them. His family was the last to leave when he was 26 years old. Also in this neighborhood was NYPC, a church that served as a large Korean community. Dr. Park was born into this church, but like most others, left church when he went to college and worked on building his career.

After having “made it” with a college and medical degree in combination with his entrepreneurial success as well, he went back to NYPC which was built by elders in the community. Those who had ten, twenty, thirty plus years of honest and credible experience devoted their hard work to build this church. He reconnected with young adults now in their 30s whom he knew when they were children. They had made their way back home to NYPC as he had. He was reminded of the typical Korean drama where the main character girl dies of cancer after being separated from her love. The familiar feeling that everyone else thinks is sad but is engraved in our Korean drama engraved minds. The familiarity of home.

His father was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and they started attending morning prayer at NYPC. It was at these trying and desperate times that he had a realization– a . Instead of the common phrase, “eye-opening” his head went down, and he closed his eyes. He realized that this was his home. He was surrounded by his elders with more experience who dedicated their honest lives to this church and work.

Dr. Park reminded us that it is easy to think we know “better” and we are “smarter” or that our “eyes are opened” to the bigger world. He knows that we will drink the fancy wines when we succeed in our careers. However, he encouraged us that we always have a tendency to come back home. Lastly, something profound he said was that we are uniquely qualified to care for those around us. This wording and phrase made me feel that it was not a burden to care for others, but actually an honor and a privilege.


Pastor Paul Chang

Pastor Chang studied at Korea Methodist Theological University, preached in Korea for 10 years, and preached in America for 40 years. He retired in 2012, and he is the author of . His main message was very thought provoking. Pastor Chang told us that this scholarship provides us with two things- one visible and one invisible. The visible one is the monetary gain we gain; however, this portion has an end when it goes towards our tuition and educational fees. The second scholarship is invisible in the spirit of Chairman Ryu- honesty and credibility which will last us a lifetime. Pastor Chang also told us that Chairman Ryu was an incredibly responsible man. The first visible one is in our hands now, but the second invisible one is our choice. We must make the decision to gain it, and once we gain it, it is not temporary. Instead, it is the spirit that we will carry with us lifelong. Pastor Chang encouraged us to live like Chairman Ryu and exemplify his and to pay it forward and build a scholarship foundation ourselves to help those who come after us in our similar shoes.


Dan Moon

Dan is a senior researcher for the Chamberlain group and was awarded the SeolBong Scholarship in 2018. He studied neuroscience in college with a goal to become a renowned doctor like his grandfather. His grandfather was a successful giant in the healthcare industry winning global awards and titles such as director and head of departments in world class top schools. This created an immense self-imposed pressure on Dan. But he wanted to move past and escape the shadow of his grandfather. One month before his college graduation, he pivoted and decided not to pursue medicine. He felt lost, but he still had a neurosurgery internship lined up.

Dan had always enjoyed music, making videos, and technology. His internship consisted of developing a VR alternative treatment for patients with chronic pain. This project required him to obtain a high-power computer which would only be given to him on the condition that he go to graduate school. He thought, “go big or go home” and applied to Ivy League schools. He heard back from Cornell only which rejected his PhD application, but was willing to consider him for a Master’s program. Unfortunately, he was in Korea and missed this email which had a deadline. He missed the deadline, but he did not give up hope and emailed them back with a sliver of his personality and included a funny meme. He was accepted into the program.

During this time, he was also making YouTube videos on his channel to combat cyberbullying with his catchphrase “Keep it positive!” He strived to be a big brother figure to those struggling. Eventually, he won a competition on YouTube and was shouted out for a video he made which rapping in Swedish that gained 12 million views. He said this is when he became a man. He encouraged us to use our talents and interests, never lose hope, and stay focused on helping others along our path. He reminded us that it is okay to change our original goals because dark times will always pass, and to “Keep it positive!”

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