Sehyun Kim

Sehyun Kim

Hometown: Daegu, South Korea
College/University Attending: Wake Forest University
Year In School When Selected: 3rd Year
Program of Study: Major: Mathematical Statistics, Minor: Entrepreneurship


I was born in Daegu, South Korea, which is around a three-hour drive south-east of Seoul. I attended pre-school there until I first moved to the United States on my birthday when I turned six to attend kindergarten in Oklahoma. I stayed there until my 2nd year of elementary school and moved back to first grade in a Korean elementary school. Although I learned how to speak Korean first, I learned the English alphabet before the Korean alphabet, called Hangeul.

I had to learn Hangeul again after school since all of my friends already knew before they entered elementary school. In fifth grade, I moved to Minnesota but came back to Korea to graduate from elementary school. I could have received a dual elementary degree, but I didn’t ask for it. I finished my middle school education in Korea, but transferred to an international school featuring American style education in high school. I have a dual high school degree from Daegu International School and a partner school in Maine Lee Academy. After graduating, I moved to North Carolina to attend college. I am about to finish my degree in Mathematical Statistics, as well as my Entrepreneurship degree. I will most likely be moving to New York City for work next year. Since I have a mixed cultural background, I tried to learn more languages during COVID. While it takes a lot of effort, I do wish to master at least five languages one day so that I can be a true global citizen.

Summary of Your New Ideas proposal:  

I watched the movie Back to the Future and thought we need more innovation in the automotive industry. I thought about flying cars, but that was too much work and seemed inefficient. So, I thought it would be better to go one step at a time. Since Electric Vehicles are on the rise, I wondered why we cannot convert a gas car into an Electric Vehicle, and that's how my idea started. I did research on how we can get rid of the gas engine and the transmission to put in an electric motor and battery instead. By doing this, we do not need to produce extra cars waste old cars, rather we give an old car new life. This is environmentally friendly and super-efficient in terms of performance. An older car that cannot perform well can be transformed into high performing vehicles with electric motors.

What does the New Ideas Competition mean to you?

The New Ideas Competition stumped me at first, but I decided to try to find a good solution for an everyday issue. People are not conscious of, or rather desensitized, by issues they face every day. Some may be quick and easy fixes that just require thought and ambition. By participating in the competition, I was able to see things from a different perspective and got to learn with others on how we can week to improve the world.

Advice for new applicants:

Be genuine with what you focus on and be deeply invested. It can be a relatively easy problem or concept, but a minor change in thinking might have a huge impact. I would focus on how you efficiently deliver your story rather than making the solution too complicated.