Seven Questions with Kyoo Hwa Kim

This week we chat to third year Experimental Psychology PhD student Kyoo, who worked in banking for 15 years before deciding to return to studying after becoming a mother. Kyoo shares with us her fascinating research study and experience mentoring students at UCL.

What are you studying, why are you interested in this subject and what do you plan to do in the future?

My research is on unethical behaviour, and the personal and situational factors that influence this - such as having social power. I am totally dedicated to exploring my interests and navigating where that takes me next. In the future, I would love to work with smart and ambitious people to solve super interesting social problems. My next job would ideally enable me to connect with others to bring about lasting changes.

What is the most interesting thing you’ve done, seen or got involved with while at UCL?

Meeting and mentoring students. Teaching is not something I ever really thought was for me, but I actually very much enjoy seeing fellow students develop interest and inspiration in and from their studies. The realisation that you’ve played a (small) part in others’ learning leaves a really great feeling, and the whole experience changes your perspective. I would recommend all UCL students to take some sort of teacher training while at UCL - the Institution has so many strong programmes on offer.

Have you discovered any hidden gems during your time at UCL?

The children’s section at Waterstones on Gower Street. It looks and feels magical. Another ’gem’ for me is the availability of student discounts around campus!

Give us your top three things to do/see/go to in London:

  • Primrose Hill is beautiful day and night, rain or shine. It’s great for people watching, running up(!), and also as a viewpoint for the New Year’s Eve fireworks show.
  • The next thing I’d say I love about London may sound a bit generic, but actually it’s a very London-specific thing. I like that in London you can find your people - no matter how niche your interest or hobby is - and find inspiration from their exceptionalism in their interests and hobbies.
  • Finally, I would say finding beautifully curated independent shops all across London is another highlight.
  • If you were Provost for the day what one thing would you do?

    I would build an adult-sized playground at the heart of campus. That way, we would all be able to engage in play without having to try to squeeze into the children’s ones (and without our legs touching the ground on the monkey bars...).

    Who inspires you and why?

    My children. I want to model collaboration, work ethic, respect and love, which means I have to try to do these things on a daily basis.

    What would it surprise people to know about you?

    That I do static trapeze. Hanging upside down on a single body part is something one might not have thought possible, yet it is! I find that it really helps with my own mood when my psychology experiments don’t work out as planned. The experience is so scary and exhilarating that the failed experiments don’t seem so important after all.


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