By Matt Nixon
While many new Panthers come from hometowns far away from Georgia State University’s downtown Atlanta campus, few have come as far as Sangha Park.
Park, a Class of 2022 Honors College Presidential Scholar, barely spoke English when she started her freshman year of high school in Winder, Ga.—a rural town roughly 50 miles from Atlanta.
“I could see cows from my high school classroom window,” she said. “The possibility of going to a good college in a big city is what motivated me.”
Park and her mother moved to Winder from Ulsan, South Korea. Park was placed in English as a Second Language (ESL) classes at Apalachee High School, but most of the other students in the class were native Spanish speakers. Her ESL instructors often lectured in Spanish.
“My freshman year was an awkward time, I didn’t speak the language and didn’t understand the culture,” said Park. “It was often a lonely time, but being in class with lots of Spanish-speaking friends motivated me to learn the language so I could communicate with them.”
It was Park’s need for connection that fueled her extracurricular activities in high school. By her senior year, Park was president of her school’s Spanish Club, as well as its Math Club and International Club.
The desire to connect with other people also underlies her choice of major at Georgia State: psychology.
“While high school was lonely at times, it taught me a lot about myself—how essential connection with others is for me and my growth,” said Park. “My interest in the way the mind works was sparked by a need to understand and appreciate myself and others.”
While Park is uncertain what career path she will follow—psychologist, researcher, professor, or some combination of them—she entered Georgia State’s Honors College excited about the possibilities and the seemingly-unlimited opportunities for connections the university offers.
The horizon is wide open and Sangha Park is thrilled with the view. Not a cow in sight.