Veterans at commencement

From South Korea to Ann Arbor

Leah Kim, a sophomore at the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, admits she is still adjusting to life at Michigan—from the unpredictable weather, to the U-M’s rigorous academic environment. For the last decade, Kim has traveled the world with the United States Air Force, but after recently deciding to pursue higher education, she is trading her military career for the classroom.

Migrating from South Korea to America in 2012, Kim joined the Air Force, managing wartime medical supplies and living everywhere from Oklahoma to Afghanistan. Once she was ready to go back to school, Kim was eager to find a more permanent place to call home.

As a nontraditional student, she discovered U-M had both the academic environment and supportive culture she was searching for in her new campus home, but she worried about managing school as her financial responsibilities mounted.

Receiving the U-M Veterans Scholarship helped relieve Kim’s stress and lessen her financial burden, allowing her to dedicate more time to her studies and assignments, all while working as a lab assistant researching molecular and cellular biology.

“Since I graduated high school 10 years ago, I’ve had to adjust to being a student again, unlike the kids coming here straight out of high school,” Kim said. “Luckily, Michigan has a variety of support programs to help students like me.”

Thanks to generous donors, Kim’s scholarship helped offset the cost of attending U-M, with help from the GI Bill®.

“The scholarship has given me more time to focus on my grades and helps me keep my goal of eventually returning to the military at the top of my mind,” Kim said.

Upon graduating from U-M, Kim hopes to return to the Air Force to use her degree as an officer.

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