The undergraduates presented their original research in four panels, receiving feedback from Dr. John Park and Nayoung Lee of USC, and Dr. Rory Walsh of the Nam Center. 

The Nam Center’s Yoon Kim took home the Top Paper prize with her paper, “Parallels of State Violence: Korean Camptowns and U.S. Massage Parlors.” Intricately dissecting the power structures that endanger both legal and illegal sex workers, Yoon’s research addresses larger issues of capitalist patriarchy and marginalization. In addition to her outstanding academic work on this subject, Yoon is also committed to activism and journalism, and has written on the impact of anti-Asian hate for the Michigan Daily.

Two additional Michigan Fellows were selected for prizes. Jackie Choe claimed Best Comparative Analysis for her paper, “Yangban to Chaebol: Korea's Elite Class throughout History.” Jackie’s paper tracked the similarities in family structure and values underlying wealth building from the Joseon period to 20th and 21st century South Korea. Her ability to link modern economic trends to historical precedents particularly impressed the panel of judges. 

The award for Best Response to a Question went to Andrea Medina, discussing her paper, “Artwashing Ihwa Mural Village: Residents’ Opposition to ‘Revitalization.’” After Andrea presented her fascinating study on the use of public art as gentrification, she was asked what the artists themselves think when communities oppose the placement of artworks in their neighborhoods. Though this exact topic had not been covered in her paper or presentation, Andrea’s thorough research was apparent when she was able to explain that many artists do in fact side with the residents of ‘artwashed’ villages, and are not opposed to the subsequent defacement or destruction of their work. 

The Nam Center congratulates all this year’s Research Fellows on a successful and intellectually invigorating conference, and extends special thanks to our Outreach Fellows. This year’s cohort of Outreach Fellows have gone above and beyond in their own duties, and have also supported and encouraged the Research Fellows in their endeavors. Having such a vibrant community of undergraduates is an endless source of pride for the Nam Center faculty and staff.