Jin joined us in Ann Arbor in September 2016 from Seoul, South Korea, where she was a staff writer for Chosun Ilbo. She and her son, Siwoo, came to Ann Arbor with a lot of enthusiasm to experience a year in the United States.
During the fellowship, Jin studied the past, present and future of the global automobile industry. She often traveled to Detroit to learn about its car history and its effects on the economy in southeast Michigan. She worked hard on her study plan and she was always engaged in seminars, asking speakers thoughtful questions and prompting meaningful discussion. Her drive to learn, her unmistakable laugh and her enthusiasm to make friends are among our best memories.
She also had fun with Siwoo at Disneyworld, San Francisco and beyond. Together, the two absorbed as many American experiences as they could, and they had hoped to have more after the fellowship.
Jin was a talented journalist, but we fellows soon learned she was an exceptionally talented pianist. When she sat at the piano at Wallace House, she transformed from hard-working writer and single mom to a musician whose soul was enlivened by classical music. She often spent Saturday afternoons at the house to practice playing, which treated others who happened to be there to an impromptu recital. At times, she played with a couple of other fellows in a makeshift jam band – an experience that brought her great joy.
A couple of months before our fellowship ended, Jin was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia, and she was rushed home to Seoul to immediately begin treatment. She worked hard to be positive about her illness and about her time in Ann Arbor. We were all happy when she had the time and energy to touch base with us.
On Sept. 7, Jin died. Her parents will raise 5-year-old Siwoo.
The Class of 2017 seeks contributions to a Go Fund Me account we have set up for Siwoo to help fund his future education. Jin valued learning and education. She made one request of her fellow KW Fellows: to ensure Siwoo has the best opportunities. We hope to honor her request with this fund.
We appreciate your generosity.
Knight-Wallace Class of 2017
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