Struggling with school and family problems, Yoohyun Jung decided to migrate from South Korea to America for a better educational opportunity at age 19.
Ms. Jung said her life reached a turning point during her junior year at the University of Arizona, where she was majoring in journalism. Her photography teacher praised one of her photos from a class assignment and encouraged her to continue taking pictures.
Before that moment, she was undecided about her career path. Photography “was a way of re-engaging with myself and discovering who I was,” she said.
Since there is no photojournalism program at University of Arizona, Ms. Jung, now 24, had to rely on her initiative and pick up where her photography class left off. By the time she graduated this month, she had become a self-taught photographer by taking photographs of anything she saw in the street and enrolling in online seminars. She also became the president of the National Press Photographers Association at her university, where she organized workshops and events.
Ms. Jung is now focused on covering social issues like immigration. She was born and raised near the Korean Demilitarized Zone, then lived near the United States-Canada border and later the Mexican border. Ms. Jung said she was interested in learning about the influx of people and cultures across international borders and how that affects citizens around the world.
“It is important to convey the message of coexistence,” she said.
Ms. Jung has worked as a reporting intern with The Tucson Weekly, The Arizona Daily Star and Arizona Public Media. As a student at The New York Times Student Journalism Institute, she hopes to collaborate with a diverse group of students and faculty. She has traveled to Japan, Malaysia, China, Singapore and several other Asian countries and wishes to continue traveling throughout the world, approaching every assignment with an international view.