Fulbright breathes Korean culture into Rider

Fulbright scholar Dr. Hueng Soo Sim is visiting Rider from South Korea as a professor of political science for this academic year. Sim is teaching a class called Korea and its Neighbors this semester.

By Lauren Santye

Dr. Hueng Soo Sim traveled all the way from South Korea to join Rider’s faculty for his second Fulbright scholar mission in the United States.

His first one was at Brown University but Sim seems to be impressed with Rider.
“What I like most about Rider is the serene academic settings and family-like cordial atmospheres,” he said.

Sim became familiar with Rider back when Professor Seiwoong Oh, chair of the English Department and Sim’s former classmate at West Texas State University, received a teaching position at Rider. Sim is currently teaching a political science course called Korea and its Neighbors this semester at Rider.

His students appreciate that Sim can provide an international view on issues discussed in class.

“I think Professor Sim is very knowledgeable in his field of study and it’s a great, unique experience taking a class taught by a Fulbright scholar,” senior Sadie Calin said. “The personal experiences he brings to the table really help to put global issues involving Korea into perspective.”

The Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence program, which is administered by the State Department of the U.S., was started in 1948 by former State Sen. William Fulbright who was looking to stimulate an international exchange of scholars and students so they could get to know one another better. Students and scholars are selected based on their excellences in their field and are sent to teach abroad. Two have been selected from South Korea so far, including Sim.

Sim said his favorite part of teaching is “sharing what I know with growing generations and having the ability to expand my students’ horizons.”

He has a specific goal when it comes to what he hopes Rider students get from his class.

“I would like to tell American audiences about Korea, its culture and history and the importance of peace and prosperity in Asia as well as in the world,” he said.
Sim grew up in Jinju, which is on the southern coast of South Korea. Before he came to Rider, he taught at Gyeongsang National University, which is one of the 10 National
Flagship Korean Universities. It has three campuses with more than 20,000 students and 1,500 faculty and staff.  He has been teaching in the Political Science Department for the past 15 years.

Growing up, Sim said he always wanted to be a teacher. He received his undergraduate degree from West Texas State University and his master’s and Ph.D in political science and international relations from Tulane University respectively.

He originally began teaching at Tulane University, where he stayed for 4 1/2 years.

However, six months after he received his Ph.D, he returned to Korea.

“I didn’t like the political situation of Korea at the time so I almost escaped from Korea,” Sim said. “So when I got to the United States I wanted to study political science so that I can make Korean politics better.”

Sim currently resides in Lawrence for the year with his wife, Young, of 20 years, and their two children: Teresa, 19, who is a freshman at Rider and Doungha, 15, a student at Lawrenceville High School.

Sim seems pleased with his experience at Rider so far.

“I am happy with what I have here at Lawrenceville — a pretty, caring, welcoming and snug campus,” he said.

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