Tell us a little about your journey and how you became involved with The Pinnacle Foundation.
Prior to beginning my university studies, I was initially reluctant become involved in any activities which may have risked the disclosure of my identity to my parents, who had spent the majority of their lives in Korea, where visibility and awareness of LGBTIQ+ communities and rights are not quite so widespread in mainstream society. However, over time, I became increasingly passionate about LGBTIQ+ health, particularly relating to youth mental health. I didn’t wish to let my apprehension of having my identity revealed to prevent me from engaging in my interests, so I gradually participated in more LGBTIQ+-related activities, such as being the Queer Officer of the UNSW Medical Society, engaging in UNSW’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and being involved in the Queer Curriculum Working Group. I first learned of The Pinnacle Foundation from a Scholar who spoke highly of The Pinnacle Foundation and the opportunities that it provided. I believed that it would be beneficial to apply, and now, I have the pleasure of being involved with The Pinnacle Foundation!
What have you gained from being part of the Pinnacle program so far?
Being part of the Pinnacle program has provided me with opportunities to meet people who are passionate about their respective fields. Such experiences have inspired me to strive to be better today than I was yesterday. This relates to my academics, but also extends to my personal development. The Pinnacle program has motivated me to pursue certain passions that I had always intended to engage in, such as being involved in community engagement to raise awareness about youth mental health, as well as studying Korean, my first language. Being a part of a community such as Pinnacle has also assisted me in building confidence and pride in my identity and has created a strong sense of belonging.
What has your experience with your mentor been like?
Due to COVID-19, although we have not been able to meet face-to-face recently, I have had regular meetings with my mentor online. My mentor has provided me with guidance for my research year but has also checked up on me throughout the isolation period to ensure that I was well. In addition, seeing my mentor, a high achieving individual, has inspired me to aim higher and to challenge myself in my studies.
What advice would you give to a young person who is thinking about applying for The Pinnacle Foundation Scholarship Program?
I would advise young people to apply, even if they doubt that they will be successful, as The Pinnacle Foundation Scholarship Program is a great opportunity, and this is not an opportunity that they should miss out on.