Students in Service and Leadership at Harvard

Sung Kwang Oh - Story of Self

My name is Sung Kwang Oh, and I am a senior at Harvard College, concentrating in Government with a secondary in Computer Science. I am also a proud Quincy Penguin! Growing up, I was alway fascinated by politics and government. I think it primarily stemmed from two places. The first was from my interest in the news. My parents began subscribing to print journalism when I was in elementary school and always encouraged me to read the newspaper. So I always took the daily paper with me every morning and would read it on the bus rides to and from school. The second way I think my interest in politics grew was through my interest in history. I absolutely loved learning history and would often read history books for fun. In fact, whenever my parents would lose me in Barnes and Nobles as a kid, they would often find me in the history section, reading a new book on the Civil War or talking to an adult in the history section about the book they were reading.

Because of my love for history, when I came to college, I thought I might be a history concentrator. However, in my freshman fall, I took an American Foreign Policy course that simply captivated me. It still had the history component; the class examined case studies from the past to understand international relations phenoma. But it also directly dealt with modern politics and governance. My experience in that course, among other reasons, convinced me that I would concentrate in Government. 

Looking back, being a Government concentrator influenced so much of my college experience. It provided me with amazing relationships. I met some of my good friends through Government courses, and I received so much mentorship and guidance from the teaching and administrative staff of the Government Department. I got involved in the department as a Peer Concentration Counselor – through which I met and connected with underclassmen – and as the sole undergraduate representative on the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee.

The Government Department also allowed me the opportunity to learn about a multitude of areas. From tech ethics to political journalism to representation and American politics, I was able to explore so many academic interests throughout college. I ultimately ended up focusing on international relations and conflict resolution, but the flexibility of the Government department allowed me to learn so much more.

As I examined potential ideas for this final research project, I knew I wanted to do something that would be meaningful and would give back to a community that has given me so much. So I decided to focus this research project on the Government Department in an attempt to raise questions, suggest new ideas, and ultimately, leave it a better place than I found it so that as many other undergraduates will have as fulfilling of an experience in the Government Department as I did.

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