Though Dabin Cheon is coming to Georgia State’s downtown Atlanta campus from a very different environment in suburban Sewanee, Ga., she’s not on entirely on her own. Her older brother is also a Georgia State student, studying in the Byrdine F. Lewis School of Nursing and Health Professions.
“Before I came here, he did mention the management information systems [MIS] program and how a bunch of his friends are attending it,” she says. “They’re adding a lot of new things every day.”
Cheon is now an MIS student herself, and with the help of the Presidential Scholarship, she’s enjoying the benefits of specialized studies and smaller class sizes in Georgia State’s Honors College. Ultimately, she hopes they can help her turn what had been a side interest into a livelihood.
Finding Her Purpose
Cheon admits that her interest in computers is a relatively recent one. “I did go back and forth on it a bit — I’m not very good at math, and my writing is just OK,” she says with a chuckle. “I was wondering what I could do for a career, so I started taking a lot of occupational surveys online, and after a lot of research I decided computer science could be good for me.”
A desire to take that interest “a step further” pointed her in Georgia State’s direction. “I decided to change my major to MIS because I think that would bring the business angle in so I could make a career out of it,” she says. “I do want it to involve technology, using it to create something. What I’ve been able to gather about this field is it’s about keeping it all together, keeping things organized, and that’s something I thought I could excel at.”
When she first started looking at colleges, Cheon was simply looking for an in-state school in a relatively familiar environment. After visiting Georgia State, though, she realized she felt “really comfortable” in the fast-paced surroundings of downtown Atlanta. “I just like the environment here — it’s really nice. I thought it would be a good experience for me because I’m so used to living outside the city, but my job would have to be somewhere I can make connections and be social.”
Cheon says she was hanging out with a friend at the office of Northview High School’s literary magazine when she got the call about the Presidential Scholarship. “I missed the call the first time, and I was panicking,” she laughs. “So I called them back, and [Dean Larry Berman] said, ‘You got it!’ And I screamed. It was exciting. I told all my friends and we had this little party afterward.”
Outlets for a Creative Mind
So far, Cheon says she’s enjoyed the small class sizes of the Honors College, as well as the separate floor for honors students at University Commons. One of the perks of the Presidential Scholarship she’s most grateful for, though, is the assistantship and the work experience that comes with it. “I’m really excited to jump into it, because I want to do something where I feel like I’m doing something useful, and I didn’t always feel that way in high school,” she says.
Cheon has a history of being productive, even when she’s doing something that just started out as a hobby. She likes to draw in her spare time, especially Japanese anime-style artwork, and it’s turned into a nice “side job” for her.
“People tell me what they want as far as special characters, and I sell them online,” she says. “Or I make up my own character designs, and people buy them if they like the detailing. It makes some nice pocket money. I’ve also met some people online through drawing who feel like lifelong friends. I even got to go to Minnesota and Canada to meet them in person, and it was an awesome experience.”
Making friends outside her brother’s circle hasn’t been a problem for her at Georgia State, either. “We kind of just do our own thing,” she says, “but next year we might be sharing an apartment, just to save money. We might get a cat, too — we’ve been begging our family for years.”