Faces of Dreamers: Jin Park, Rhodes Scholar

December 19, 2018

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This is one in a series of posts on individual Dreamers, undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as young children, many of whom are under threat of deportation following the Trump administration’s decision in September 2017 to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, or DACA.

Jin Park is a senior at Harvard University and the first DACA recipient to receive a Rhodes Scholarship.

The Rhodes Scholar program is a prestigious fellowship that awards the opportunity for postgraduate study at the University of Oxford to outstanding students around the world. Park was one of 32 American students chosen for the 2019 award.

According to the Harvard student newspaper The Harvard Crimson, Park had previously applied for the scholarship but was not eligible to be selected because of his immigration status. However, his application sparked the decision to change the criteria and open the scholarship to DACA recipients.

Park was brought to the United States by his parents from South Korea when he was seven years old, according to a profile and interview on NPR. At Harvard, he is majoring in molecular and cellular biology and minoring in ethnicity, migration, and rights. For his postgraduate work at Oxford, he intends to pursue two master’s degrees, one in migration studies, and one in global health science and epidemiology and to combine those fields to improve health-related policy for immigrants.

As he told the Crimson, “Growing up as an undocumented person in New York City, I had a lot of formative experiences that have taught me that it’s important for me to use my talents and my educational training to give back to the undocumented community. And I wanted to do that through the lens of healthcare.”

To learn more, read NPR’s interview and The Harvard Crimson’s profile of Jin Park.

—Carly O’Connell

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