Take This Time To

Focus On Yourself



KWON Young-min

of SUNY Korea, and His Wife

Professor KWON Young-min of SUNY Korea Stony Brook University, 

and his wife are always full of love for campusdespite COVID-19. 

Professor KWON does not spare warmencouragement for his students, 

and his wife always strivesto be a volunteer. Their love and 

devotion might be the most necessary teachings for students in this period.

How did you connect with SUNY Korea Stony Brook University?

Professor KWON: I have always wanted to do something meaningful so that I can be of help to others with what I have learned. I was hired by SUNY Korea when I was thinking that I might be able to do so with what I Iearned while studying abroad and working as a software engineer at Microsoft in the US for ten years. Besides that, I personally wanted to have various experiences in life. Working as an engineer at a company was fun, and it was comfortable because I tended to be good at it. But I came to SUNY Korea with the excitement of finding new challenges.

Your service became a hot topic while the entire campus was in crisis mode due to COVID-19.

Mrs. KWON: I had been always grateful to the staff members of the Incheon Global Campus (IGC) Foundation as they helped me a lot during the first few years when it was not easy for me to readjust to South Korea after living abroad for a long time. Upon hearing the news that there were not enough volunteers on campus due to the sudden COVID-19 situation, I applied to volunteer without hesitation, wondering if I could be able to repay them a bit by adding an extra hand. I participated as a volunteer to give temperature checks and guidance on mask wearing for resident students in the IGC Housing dormitory and outside visitors. I always put kindness and consideration first, bearing in mind that new rules and sanctions can be uncomfortable for someone no matter what it might mean for the public good. I sincerely thank the dormitory, IGC Foundation officials, and resident students in the dormitory, who have followed and supported in-school quarantine guidelines so far. I hope that we could endure just a little more and overcome this crisis well even if we all are uncomfortable.

Both Professor KWON and Mrs. KWON have a good reputation throughout the campus. What is the secret?

Professor KWON & Mrs. KWON: First of all, we are grateful to those who think highly of us. I tend to think this is because my wife laughs easily and loves to talk to many different people, which more than offsets the awkwardness posed by me, a man of few words. Our relationship with students should be closer as the elder and younger family members rather than as teachers and students. We are glad that such sincerity seems to have been passed on to the students.

What would be the most memorable research or project you have done with your students?

Professor KWON: I have been developing a multiple robot system with students since last semester. We are trying to make it easier to develop a robot program using a mobile agent system, but we have been inwardly worried as development has not progressed for over a semester. Then, it started to be successful in implementation for the first time immediately after this summer vacation, and after that, progress was made at a rapid pace, allowing us to pass a public test a while ago. I think one can’t easily forget the incisive experience of solving a difficult problem that has been stood as a roadblock for a long time, leading to easily solving all other problems as well. It seems that I and my students learned a lot about robot programming while carrying out the project, and I feel rewarded since we seem to have an opportunity to apply this in another area, based on our confidence in the self-developed mobile agent system this time.

Lastly, could you say something to enrolled and prospective students?

Professor KWON: In college, you can learn your major in-depth, but it is also a place where you can broaden your horizons with various direct and indirect experiences. When I look back at my college student days, I had been so absorbed in only computer-related work from when I joined a robotics club. Although this experience was very helpful for me in going on to a graduate school or getting a job later, it seems that I lacked thought about something worthwhile in my life or what kind of life I should live as I failed to put things in perspective due to my singleminded lifestyle. Younger students these days are faced with a very different reality from the college life that they have been expecting due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as the saying goes, one should “Turn a crisis into an opportunity,” by trying to access good books in your own time and space that will be rarely available, and find new means of achieving a more meaningful and enriched life. I look forward to seeing you on campus like before as soon as possible.