James Min Seok Kim hails from South Korea. He moved to the United States when he was in the sixth grade and spoke broken English.
During Kim’s senior year in high school, he passed 18 AP exams. He can speak Korean, English, French and Spanish and he plays the piano.
Today, Kim is a first-year physics and mathematics double major with a 4.0 GPA. He is on track to complete his undergraduate requirements by spring of 2006.
Kim is the kind of student who receives a 100 percent on every math test he takes, and who remembers every theorem in every math book he’s ever read.
Kim is currently enrolled in six classes and two labs. At UCI, he’s taking Math 205C (a graduate course), Math 121B, Math 146, Economics H-100C, Physics 51B, Physics 52C and Chemistry 1B. When James isn’t in class, he busies himself by tutoring the students of the Math 140 (analysis) series.
The New University sat down with Kim and asked him a few questions about his life.
New U.: Why did you choose mathematics and physics?
Kim: That’s what I’m good at. I always got A-pluses in math in high school. One reason that I took so many AP exams was to see what subjects I was good at, and it turned out that I got fives in math, the sciences, the languages and music theory.
When I say sciences, I mean the natural sciences and the social sciences. Economics seemed too simple. I had to choose a major and it was kind of hard to decide at first, but math and physics seemed like fundamental subjects, and that’s what I liked.
New U.: What is your least favorite subject?
Kim: I can tell you what I’m not good at: English and history. I took AP exams in world history and U.S. history and I got threes, although I tried really hard. I’ve found that for some subjects I can spend a year and not be able to understand the whole thing, but in math and science I pick up things quickly.
New U.: What are your goals?
Kim: I want to find a job where I can continue to do math and science.
New U: What is a typical day like for you?
Kim: I haven’t got much room except for my classes. I have class straight through the day and when I have time off, I do tutoring.
I try to do my homework during the weekend