April 27, 2020 | By Jake Weber
Harim "Sunny" Kim, '20, who will graduate in May with degrees in business and music, has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Mexico for 2020-21. A member of the Gerstacker and Ford institutes as well as the Brown Honors Program, Kim is Albion College's 16th Fulbright recipient in the last 17 years.
"My hands and fingers were shaking," said Kim, recalling the sight of the Fulbright email. "I read the decision letter, and then I read it eight more times just to really make sure. I screamed, and told my family, and I cried and made a very ugly crying face."
Kim's first experience with Mexico—and speaking Spanish—came the summer before her first year at Albion, when she participated in a mission trip with her home church. At the time, Kim spoke three languages and immediately determined that Spanish would be the fourth one (Kim now speaks five). She has since made numerous trips to Mexico and did formal Spanish study at Albion College.
In addition to putting her language education to the test, Kim is looking forward to furthering her work in music education. A member of the Albion College Symphony Orchestra for three years (she spent a year abroad in South Korea and France), Kim founded a project to bring donated instruments to a rural Mexican town. For her Fulbright-sponsored service project, she hopes to establish a community orchestra.
"Teaching music brings me to reflect upon my personal musicianship and how I can improve. In order to excel in music, traits such as being determined, self-disciplined, motivated and willing are needed," Kim explained. "These traits can also be applicable in other areas of my students' lives, which is why I plan on integrating music into the education system."
A partial list of Kim's campus involvements at Albion includes Student Senate, Kappa Alpha Theta, Delta Sigma Pi and Asian Awareness Group. She has worked for Institutional Advancement, the Modern Languages and Cultures Department and the College's wellness program as a Zumba instructor.
A job with Eli Lilly is on hold so that Kim can accept the Fulbright honor. Because of the coronavirus and COVID-19 pandemic, the start date for the newest Fulbright recipients has been delayed until at least January 2021. Kim will start at Lilly next summer.
"When I come back I have a position as a pharmaceutical sales prepresentative, and I plan on attending grad school in the future and getting my MBA. I eventually would love to work in global sales, expanding my knowledge and love for the global community," Kim says. "But for now, I am looking forward to the chance to make mistakes—I know that sounds crazy, but it's true—and to learn and grow from this opportunity."