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I knew I wanted to be in education when I was in high school. Initially, I thought that I wanted to be a high school band director since band was such an integral part of my high school identity development. However, as I progressed and moved forward, I realized that education was just where my heart was and that there were many positive influences as well as negative influences. For instance, while my high school English teachers were positive and pushed me to write and strengthen my skills, my 2nd-grade teacher told me that I could not pursue the more difficult math because "Asians are smarter" referencing two of my friends. However, despite my white presenting self, who does have privilege, I have identified with my Korean culture and heritage for most of my life, meanwhile, 2nd grade Charlene had her identity decimated. 

In undergraduate school, I struggled with undiagnosed ADHD, depression, and anxiety, and was caring for my family in different ways that resulted in me working 40+ hours a week. A counselor had marked in my file she thought I was lying, and this had stood out to me for many years of my life. It was not until I completed coursework momentarily after UCLA at a community college that I finally had words to articulate what I wanted to do, which led me to my MA in Sociology. My time in my master's program allowed me to combine my passion for arts, culture, media, and education. It influenced me to pursue my PhD in Education, which I completed in May 2023. 

I am now a passionate educator, having taught middle and high school humanities, undergraduate sociology, and both undergraduate and graduate-level research methodologies. I strongly believe in applied, action, and community-engaged research practices. I love teaching—it is my passion - and seeing how research can benefit society encourages me to continue teaching and mentoring students and up-and-coming researchers.

Lastly,I was recently selected as a Fulbright U.S. Scholar, allowing me to continue my threading of wanderlust.

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