A Mason Korea senior has already left a lasting impact on another part of the world. Goeun Jackie Baek (Conflict Analysis and Resolution, '23) spent the first quarter of this year working as a program coordinator for the Miracle for Africa Foundation (MAF) in Malawi.
The four-month stint involved managing Daeyang University and Daeyang Luke Hospital in Lilongwe, while serving as an interpreter. After returning to Korea in April, Baek continues to contribute to MAF's mission at the organization's headquarters in Seoul.
“My time in Malawi was a transformative and stretching experience,” said Baek, adding, “it was really Mason Korea and the Career Development Center that brought me this far." Baek is currently taking a one-year leave of absence to diligently work and earn her tuition before embarking on her transition to the Fairfax campus.
In Malawi, Baek had the opportunity to present MAF's initiatives in front of Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, the President of the Republic of Malawi, and the Ministry of Education. Her presentation highlighted MAF's efforts to improve ICT education and provide psychosocial support to victims of Cyclone Freddy. She also extended MAF's backing of Busan, Korea as the host city for World Expo 2030.
Baek also interpreted at meetings with key officials from the Ministry of Health, Education, Foreign Affairs, and the Christian Health Association of Malawi. She also met with the Mayor of Lilongwe to explore effective groundwater usage and its equitable distribution among nearby communities.
Baek's undergraduate journey was not without challenges. She worked tirelessly during her freshman year to cover her tuition expenses. “In my sophomore year, I discovered scholarship opportunities available at Mason Korea. Receiving scholarships and finding on-campus jobs allowed me to focus on improving my grades. And now I want to create similar opportunities for other students by expanding MAF's network and offering scholarships to students in need.”
Baek also took advantage of other resources available at Mason Korea, including the Career Development Center (CDC), through which she had the opportunity to intern at the WHO, UNDRR, and participate in the WFUNA UN College Leader's Program. Baek also dedicated her summer and winter breaks to interning at startups, which allowed her to learn about business operations and gain an entrepreneurial mindset.
“My goal is to become a lawyer specializing in mediating conflicts arising from development projects involving nonprofit organizations, international funds, and grassroots movements,” said Baek. She draws inspiration from the Independent Redress Mechanism (IRM) at the Green Climate Fund.
Baek's passion for education and equal opportunity also extends to those close to her. She encouraged her brother to transfer to Mason Korea and apply for the need-based entrance scholarship, ensuring that her loved ones can also access the life-changing possibilities that education can provide.
June 13, 2023