Taking it to the Next Level

Cora Allison '22 and Abbie Tanyhill Darst '03Leave a Comment

Kevin Kim poses for a photo while a basketball game occurs in the background

Kevin Kim ’18 is working in a two-year internship position with the College’s sports information office, funded through an NCAA Division III Ethnic Minority and Women’s Internship grant. In his position, he manages Athletic Department website and social-media content.
(Photo: Cora Allison ’22)

Berea graduate earns two-year internship through his student work experience

When Kevin Kim ’18 first stepped onto Berea’s campus in fall 2014, he was not convinced Berea was the best fit for him. Having grown up outside of Atlanta, Ga., the small-town atmosphere of Berea was a culture shock. He originally had been recruited to play golf for Cornell University, but financing a Cornell education was out of reach for his family at the time. It was Cornell’s golf coach who recommended Berea to Kim.

“I couldn’t settle in, I didn’t know anybody, and I had the mindset of that this wasn’t really the place for me,” Kim recalled about his first weeks at Berea College.

And it wasn’t just the campus that didn’t seem to fit. He started off as a business major, and quickly realized it wasn’t his ‘cup of tea’ either, Kim said.

“I started asking myself, ‘What’s going to keep my mind engaged?’ and I took a couple of philosophy courses and really enjoyed them,” he said. “So I decided to stick with it. I originally wanted to go into the law profession, and philosophy works hand-in-hand with that.”

But even with a new major, Kim still struggled to settle into Berea. Between the academic rigor, demanding schedule and continued offers to play golf at other schools, Kim said he often considered leaving Berea. But it was his relationship with his golf coach, Trent Milby, and the influence of his labor supervisor Shawn Jakubowski and associate athletic director Ryan Hess that ultimately convinced Kim to stay at Berea.

“Berea gets tough, and I had a lot of tempting offers to leave Berea to go to another school,” Kim said. “These guys were mentors and really made me want to stay here as well as pursue a career as a coach or an athletic administrator.”

With their encouragement, Kim stayed connected and soon excelled at Berea. He went on to win the national championship in golf his junior year. He thrived in his labor position with sports information, where, as a student manager, he managed set up and tear down for various Seabury Center events.

Near the end of Kim’s senior year, the Athletics Department applied for and received an NCAA Division III Ethnic Minority and Women’s Internship grant, which created a position for a coordinator of athletic events and sports information.

“I applied and was brought to campus to interview,” Kim said. “I think having the student labor position here really helped get my foot in the door because I had previous experience in the field.”

In this two-year position, Kim has taken what he learned as a student to the next level. He writes sports articles, creates and manages Athletics website content and is expanding the department’s reach and engagement through dynamic social media content.

“I want to show the personal side of athletics; I want it to be more than, ‘This is the game, here’s what we did,’” Kim said. “I want to do interest pieces on student athletes, and highlight the people behind the sport.”

Kevin has been a tremendous asset to our department while serving in this position and we are excited about all he’s accomplished since he began the internship in August,” Hess said. “The ideas, creativity, and perspective he brings to each project he’s involved with, along with his tireless work ethic, have pushed our athletic programs out to the campus and community in new and engaging ways, which benefit both our department and, most importantly, our student athletes.”

Ultimately, Kim plans to pair his philosophy and pre-law education with his sports information training by pursuing a career as an athletic director focusing on NCAA compliance laws and regulations. Nearly five years after his uncertain start at Berea, Kim has found his place at Berea and is discovering new ways to enrich the Berea experience for student athletes by promoting the sports programs that help them find their niche and thrive on campus.

“The biggest thing Berea taught me as a person is I don’t have to sit and wait for opportunity to fall in my lap,” Kim said, “I can go out and achieve whatever I want to.”

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