Carnegie Mellon University

Ji Hyun (Julie) Kim

Adviser: Richard Purcell
Majors: Psychology; Professional Writing
Minor: Human-Computer Interaction

Asian American Representation in the American Education System

As a Korean-American student, Julie Kim’s experiences throughout the secondary education in America influenced her decision to research the representation of Asian-American literature in English courses in the American school system, as well as the ways in which Asian-American writers write about Asian-American characters in their novels. For Kim, the Asian-American writers and Asian-American characters in novels have helped shape her thoughts as an Asian-American and a Korean immigrant in the United States. Through her project, Kim will study these relationships and how they affect students to propose a change in the American education system.


After experiencing racism from her middle school classmates, Kim started to question the traditional structure of authority and felt helpless to change anything. Then, Kim did something she’d never done before: She started to vent by writing, a form of expression that helped her to find her voice. Kim then started to seek others who wrote to express themselves — and one of those people was Korean-American author, Chang-Rae Lee. Lee’s novel “Native Speaker,” helped Kim to embrace her identity as a Korean and made her realize that seeing representations of others who were like her was so important to her own educational experience.