This is Hien Park. Students will see her teaching Sociology classes or helping facilitate a few different clubs on campus as a faculty advisor. She loves listening to hymns and taught herself how to play the piano by studying different music notes on theory sheets. When she is not at work, she enjoys eating a warm pot of kimchi jjigae, which is a stew-like Korean dish made with spicy fermented cabbage and tofu.
Hien was born in Seoul, South Korea, where she attended elementary school alongside her four other siblings. Her dad was a pastor at a Pentecostal megachurch called Yoido Full Gospel Church before he felt called to move to Los Angeles, CA. There, her dad and mom would start their church predominately for the inner-city Korean-American community. (Pictured here with Hien, Rev. Sang Kun Rim.)
"I went to middle school in LA and it was pretty hard. Since I was new to the states, a majority of my time was spent taking ESL courses," Hien remembers. She would continue her high school education in LA before attending University of California Irvine as a political science major. After college, she attended graduate school and got a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Washington.
During this time, she started dating her childhood friend Simon, who she grew up with as friends since the 7th grade. "He is like me. He is 1.5 generation as they say here." A popular saying in the Korean-American immigrant community meaning born abroad but raised in the U.S. After graduating from the University of Washington, Hien went back to Korea to teach in university for two years.
"After coming back from Korea, I got married and had two kids. It was so crazy, at the time, I also wanted to go back to school so I only applied to one school, U.C.I, and luckily got in," she remembers. Hien would raise her daughter and son with her husband predominately in graduate school housing for five years before relocating to Nevada for her husband's work. After six years of graduate study, she would eventually graduate with a Ph.D. in Sociology with an emphasis on immigration and race/ethnicity.
Hien reflects,"I am passionate about my emphases because it's my story. I think more people need to have a conversation about different cultures and like Proverbs says to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves." While going to U.C.I, Hien worked closely with refugees who had escaped from North Korea. In 2012, Hien saw an advertisement for a job online looking for a full-time professor at Vanguard. She applied for the position and has been working on campus ever since.
Hien and her family currently live in Placentia. Her daughter is a freshman here and is studying Biochemistry major. Vanguard is thankful for Hien's story and her heart for students in and out of the classroom.
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