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Student Spotlight: Jessica (Su Hae) Jang '20

Student Spotlight: Jessica (Su Hae) Jang ’20 

The Advancement Office caught up with Northwood Junior Jessica Jang '20 — which wasn't easy because she might be the busiest person on campus!

AO: How did you find your way to Northwood?

JJ: I’m originally from Seoul, South Korea, and my older brother and I used to go to a school in Singapore. I had always wanted to go to a boarding school because I wanted to learn to be more responsible for myself. When my brother was accepted to St. Lawrence University, my parents and I started looking for boarding schools near his school. When I visited Northwood, I immediately fell in love with both Lake Placid and the school. I also love winter activities, so I chose Northwood. 

AO: Do you feel like you’re making the most of your time as a student here?

JJ: I do. In addition to my course load, I’m on the crew team as well as the basketball team in winter. I am the leader of the Sustainability Committee, since sustainability and the environment are things that I am passionate about. I am an RA, and a member of the Junior Student Council and CARE, the school’s community service organization. I am also Editor-in-Chief of The Mirror, the student-run online newspaper, which can take up a lot of time. I meet with Mr. Spear, our advisor, two or three times a week to write and edit articles. I love how I can balance academics and extracurricular activities at Northwood. My days can get pretty busy and long, but I enjoy my time here. 

I’ve also been involved in the Youth Climate Summit at the Wild Center for about three years now. Last year, I joined the planning committee. This year I was even more involved as a member of the logistics crew. I gave the opening remarks at this year’s summit and worked on logistics for the speakers who came. Following the summit, we came up with two projects for Northwood focused on sustainability – the first is solar-powered charging stations for phones and laptops, and the second is building an electric car charging station at the main entrance of the school. We’re currently finalizing our plans for the first project, and we’ll be installing the solar panels in the academic buildings soon! Thanks to my role with the Youth Climate Summit, I was also invited to speak at the Opening Ceremony of the International Children’s Games held in Lake Placid this past January.

AO: What has surprised you about Northwood?

JJ: I think Northwood, although we’re small, has a lot of diversity. A lot of us are athletes, and a lot of us play different sports. And, we have students from all over the world, but we’re really inclusive. Everyone is accepted here. I don’t play any of the major sports at Northwood, but crew is my main sport. All of my friends support my passion and interests. 

Northwood has given me a lot of opportunities. Mr. Eaton recommended me for the Youth Climate Summit, and I was able to go to a climate conference led by Al Gore not long after I arrived at Northwood. Also, speaking at the International Children’s Games was a huge honor. I think being an international student can sometimes be hard, but it seems less so at Northwood because we’re so small, and I like that.

AO: You’re involved in many things at Northwood. What motivates you?

JJ: People say that I’m really hard working and diligent, and I think that in some ways that can motivate other people in my class. The fact that I enjoy challenging myself also motivates me because I always strive to do better and do my best. I think my personality changed a lot since I came to Northwood. When I first came to Northwood, I lacked confidence in myself and doubted what I could do. I’ve definitely come to believe in myself more thanks to my amazing friends, teachers, and coaches. I consider myself an introvert, but still, I try to take advantage of as many opportunities as I can. I try to do as much as I can but still have a social life, and I think that’s a good quality to have as both a student and an individual.

AO: What would you tell prospective students about Northwood?

JJ: When I first came to Northwood, I was really surprised by how passionate people were – particularly about their sports. But as time passed, I realized that even if you don’t play those sports, people acknowledge you for what you do best and for what you’re interested in. Personally, I had never rowed in my life before I came to Northwood, but now I’m the captain of the crew team. Coming to Northwood will really help you grow as a person. It makes your best qualities stand out, and teachers and students all recognize you for them.

AO: Which teacher makes you laugh the most and why?

JJ: Probably H (Howard Runyon). I spend the most time with him since I do crew and have him for English. He has this very dry sense of humor, and he’s not always intentionally funny, and I sometimes find that funny. 

AO: At this point in your life, what would be your dream job?

JJ: I’ve thought about it a lot, but at the moment I’m not really sure. I have a lot of interests, and I’m not sure what I’m really good at. In the past, I’ve thought about being a doctor or working for the U.N. Currently, I’m really enjoying biology and history, so yeah, I have a lot of options. But my experience here at Northwood with community service and leadership has made me realize the importance of cooperating with other people. No matter what I do in life, I want to keep helping others and make the world more environmentally friendly. I’d love to do some research on sustainability.