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Director of Communications
Profile of a Queens College Graduate, Class of 2004:
ELIJAH KIM: A PASSION TO BRING HEALTH CARE TO THE WORLD
FLUSHING, NY, May 20, 2004 — Future M.D. Elijah Kim of Bushwick, Brooklyn, is the son of Korean immigrants—a Protestant minister and nurse—who moved from Los Angeles to Bushwick to establish a ministry. Their influence endures in Kim’s desire to combine a career in medicine with “spiritual values.”
“My whole outlook and understanding changed dramatically at Queens College,” says Kim, who completed his BA in biology cum laude this February and will participate in the college’s June 3 commencement ceremony at its Flushing campus. “My intention initially was just to provide health care, but here I realized what kind of situation we’re in both locally and globally,” he explains, pointing out that Brooklyn has a shortage of good doctors and Liberia has three nurses for every 50,000 people. “Now my passion is to use all possible resources on behalf of those who don’t have equal access to health care.”
Growing up, Kim suffered racial harassment and lost friends to crime and drugs, but graduated from Stuyvesant High School with honors. With three sons entering college one after the other, the Kims turned to CUNY and SUNY. Elijah Kim was admitted to Queens College with a full scholarship, which he supplemented by working as a manager at a Soho food supplier.
“I accomplished far more than I set out to do,” he says. As an undergraduate, Kim was a chemistry tutor with the Alliance for Minority Participation, a CUNY program to provide free help in math and science to disadvantaged and minority students. He also worked at a community clinic through an internship at Harlem Hospital and was president of three organizations—the Biology Honor Society, which he revived; the Korean Christian Fellowship; and Future Healers of America. In addition, Kim served as editor of The Nucleus, the journal of undergraduate scientific research that had been dormant for years. Despite this busy schedule, he excelled academically and was inducted into the Golden Key Honor Society.
“The college gave me an opportunity to find out who I was. It supplemented knowledge with wisdom—how to use that knowledge,” he says.
After the harsh conflicts of his youth, Kim flourished in the international community at Queens College, one of America’s most diverse, where students come from 140 nations. “There are so many different perspectives at Queens College,” says Kim, who notes the “approachable professors and friendly campus…Your heart becomes more open, and you comprehend so much better what this world is.”
Kim, who already has been accepted to several medical schools, is completing training as an emergency medical technician at LaGuardia Community College. He hopes to become involved in international or urban public health, and through medicine to contribute to “social justice, racial reconciliation, and opportunities for equal health care for all.”
Queens College (CUNY) is dedicated to the idea that a first-rate education should be accessible to talented individuals of all backgrounds and financial means. Founded in 1937, the college offers an exceptional liberal arts curriculum, with over 100 undergraduate and graduate programs. Located on a beautiful 77-acre campus in Flushing, Queens College enjoys a national reputation for its liberal arts and sciences and pre-professional programs. Its nearly 17,000 students come from more than 140 nations, creating an extraordinarily rich and welcoming environment. The college’s outstanding faculty have received numerous fellowships, awards, and research grants, including Guggenheim awards and Fulbright fellowships.