Yuri Kwak

Yuri Kwak

Graduate Assistant for Graduate Student Life, MA in Higher Education Leadership Ambassador


Tokyo, Japan

Expected Graduation Date

Spring 2019

What do you hope to do with your degree and why?

I hope to work in academic affairs in academic advising. 

How did you hear about SOLES, and why did you choose to enroll?

I first heard about SOLES in my search for graduate programs in Higher Education through the NASPA website. I initially came to USD for admit/interview days which was a difficult decision for me as I had to take time off work and fly halfway across the world just for a few days. However, that ended up being the best decision I made because I got to connect with faculty, students, potential peers, and get a firsthand feel of what the program, USD, and San Diego is like. The first and second years in the program really went out of their way to build a relationship with prospective students and provided us with valuable information and insight. I kept in touch with many of them who were always available to answer questions until I committed to the program, and they are some of my closest friends and peers today. I knew I wanted to enroll in the program after the admit/interview days but it was important for me to choose an institution that offered me a graduate assistantship. As soon as I got my offer, I immediately paid my deposit!  

Tell us about any internships, graduate assistantships, student teaching, practicum or fieldwork you have done through SOLES. Where did you work, what did you do, and how did it impact you?

I currently work as a Graduate Assistant in the office of Graduate Student Life. I have the awesome job of programming events for graduate and law students and also serve as an advisor to the Graduate Student Council in building a strong community for graduate students on campus. As part of my role, I have also been afforded the rare opportunity to attend the Board of Trustees meetings in Academic Affairs as a graduate student representative, which has been an eye-opening experience. My job is unique as I get to work with and serve my peers, and I have the amazing opportunity to connect with graduate students outside of my program in various capacities. It has been a rewarding and challenging experience thus far to be able to serve graduate students in academic, social, and professional areas.

Is there anything specific you would like to share with prospective students?

There are always ways to pursue your interests and you are never boxed in! Seek out those opportunities! As I do not have direct contact with undergraduate students, I participated in a program in which I was paired with a freshman and served as a coach/mentor for an entire semester. As a first-generation student, I am part of the first-generation action committee, and my supervisor and I hold first-gen dialogues for graduate students at the Graduate and Law Commons.