1 in 950: Julie Korsmeyer

by Kandace Fung (CMC) ‘19
Staff Writer

Julie Korsmeyer ‘19

TSV: Where are you from?

JK: I’m from San Mateo, California. It’s half an hour south from San Francisco.

TSV: Tell me about your family.

JK: I have one older sister; she’s 21. My mom is an immigrant from Taiwan; she’s Chinese. My dad is white, so my sister and I are half-and-half.

TSV: How do you think being biracial has affected your experiences, if at all?

JK: Being biracial has enriched my experiences in that I’m more aware [of] other cultures and how different people in different cultures will interpret certain things that are said or how their perspectives have changed how they interact with other people. It has helped me to converse with people of color and find common ground that way; it’s also just made me more aware of different traditions and practices [across certain] cultures.

TSV: What is one of your favorite childhood memories?

JK: I went to a Spanish immersion school from kindergarten through fifth grade, and so we had a lot of cultural heritage celebrations. I learned Spanish along with English and lot of the celebrations were celebrating Mexican culture and Spanish culture. And so, going to that kind of school— sponsored festivals and dressing up and learning all the songs, that was really fun.

TSV: What pastimes do you enjoy?

JK: So, when I’m not studying for AISS, I like to read a lot, for fun. I like to paint and color, [and] I’m a private pilot, so I fly as well in my spare time. I also used to do a lot of sports, so I play pickup games, but I’m not on a team currently.

TSV: What genre of books do you prefer?

JK: Science-fiction and fantasy, mostly.

TSV: What’s your favorite book or author? Why?

JK: I really like The Belgariad by David Eddings, it’s a fantasy series. It was one of my dad’s favorites when he was growing up, so that’s how I know about it. I have his old copies, I’m not allowed to bend the binding. I have to be really delicate, but it’s a great fantasy series—typical coming of age. [It] also [takes place in a] really detailed and complete fantasy world.

TSV: When did you start flying?

JK: I started flying when I was seventeen years old. I won a scholarship at the local airport, and they paid for my training and for me to get my license. I trained for an entire summer pretty much every day, and took my license right when senior year started.

TSV: Why did you apply for this flight scholarship?

JK: Well, it was really convenient, because it was something I wanted to do for a long time, and then it was at a local airport and only for high school juniors to do between their junior and senior year. So I found out about it right in time to apply.

TSV: Skipping ahead a bit to college— was there a particular moment or thing that made you feel that Scripps was the right place for you?

JK: So I really liked Scripps when I first learned about it. I actually learned about it through searching for Pomona, and I went to a Claremont Colleges discussion in Santa Clara. Then I heard about Scripps and thought it was really cool, so once I applied, it was definitely my top choice. But because of financial situations, I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted to really commit and convince myself it was my top choice. It wasn’t until I visited and met the people and felt the vibe here that I figured, “Wow I actually really like this,” and decided to go here.

TSV: What is one of your most memorable moments here at Scripps?

JK: I’ve had a lot of fun hanging around campus, going to someless-intense parties and wandering around finding places. There was one night, when there were a lot of people that were out, but my friends and I didn’t want to go all out and head out to different campuses and do things like that. So we were just walking around, and we were going to have a movie night, but then we stumbled upon the Margaret Fowler Garden, and it’s usually locked at night but it was open. So it was kind of spooky, because there was really bad lighting, and all the shadows and the plants, so we just ran around there and took pictures and gave piggyback rides for awhile.

TSV: In the semester that you’ve now been attending Scripps, has there been anything that challenged you or that you had to overcome that you never anticipated?

JK: I had to overcome the difficulty of classes and time management since the structure of classes is very different than from high school; [in college] it’s not back-to-back classes,  but you have time in between. So you have to really figure out if you’re going to do homework or relax or do whatever between, trying to schedule things between what’s fun and my responsibilities to my schoolwork and being accustomed tobeing challenged in school, because in high school it was either a hit or miss whether a subject was challenging or not.

TSV: In about ten to twenty years, what goals do you have hoped to have accomplished?

JK: I obviously want to graduate college. I want to get a college degree in something, I’m kinda thinking chemistry or art conservation or thinking of some combination of both right now. I want to be in a position where I am financially stable and emotionally stable and all that. I can practice my work and be engaged in it, like do research. I definitely want to travel a lot as well. [I] also [want to] get more ratings on my pilot’s license, [which means] expanding the types of aircraft I can fly and the maneuvers I can do - constantly practicing and improving and learning.

TSV: Would you consider becoming an airplane pilot as a career?

JK: I wouldn’t really because […] females aren’t represented very much [in the industry] and it’s mostly a hierarchy of white old men, so it’s not the best place to work and you have to struggle very hard to put out a lot to even get high enough to make those positions-- so [I’m flying] just for fun for now.

TSV: What is your perfect day?

JK: One where I don’t have a lot of pressing things to do, like right away, I can just meander and do whatever I want when I want: sleep in, read, have a good breakfast, things I can’t do during the week. Hang out with family and friends, go to a location like an arts and wine festival or to the beach or museum… [Something] that’s just low-key but quality time.

TSV: What are your goals for yourself in this new year?

JK: I want to be better at managing my time, especially after the first semester, I realized what I needed to expect and try to stay ahead of my work. I also [want to] not be so devoted that I miss out on events, and [I want to focus on] having fun and still remaining spontaneous in some aspects.

TSV: If you could pick three words to describe yourself, what would they be?

JK: I would say resourceful; I definitely try to be prepared for things. I’d say i’m pretty loyal as well, with my friends and values; I don't try to go out and do things that I know isn’t who I am. And I’d like to think that I’m kind, as well.

TSV: Who is your favorite Disney character? Why?

JK: Mulan because my sister and I kind of both identified with her, begin an Asian woman. She also defied gender stereotypes and was pretty kick-ass overall.

TSV: What is the most difficult obstacle you have had to face so far?

JK: I think getting my pilot’s license was the most difficult of all obstacles because it [took]  a lot of physical and emotional strength, so it kind of threw me off. Sometimes I was so dedicated that I kind of ignored everything I else. I would not talk to people after training because Iwas so exhausted. My sleeping and eating habits were off. It was definitely a physical danger to be flying an airplane. I had a near mid-air collision at one point, it didn’t actually happen, but we both had to dive out of the way. So there are freaky things like that, but it’s also super rewarding. So that was really difficult to be thrown in that kind of environment and have to learn while you're doing it and be completely responsible for yourself, the plane, the people around you and the air around you.

TSV: Has that affected your perspective on things?

JK: Yeah, I think I’m a little more chill and calm in high-intensity danger situations now. Because now I’ve had training to be pressured and keep my head whenever and know certain things to do in a situation.

TSV: Is there anything you always wanted to try or start, but was afraid or wary of doing?

JK: I can't think of anything in particular that I want to do but haven't done because I'm afraid, but I do sometimes second guess trying new things because I'm wary the social stigma/judgement, but I do get around to it eventually. I’m trying to branch out, going to new clubs and going into the gym to workout and not care what other people are doing— just doing my own thing even if my roommates are going out doing their own thing, I can do it with my friends in adifferent way.

TSV:If you could change/ameliorate one world problem, what would it be?

JK: Access to good resources like clean water, clean air, available soil to plant things— basic things people take for granted, especially people in urban or southern areas. But with the whole thing happening in Flint, with their water supply being tanned, things like underdeveloped or third world countries… If they had those [basic resources] it would be much more probably for them to have stable infrastructure, and then be able to build a stable community and government off of that, so that seems like a [set of] fundamental things everyone should have to begin with.

TSV: Where does your mind usually wander right before you fall asleep?

JK: It kind of varies. Sometimes my roommates are up when I’m falling asleep, so I’ll vaguely hear what they are saying and start dreaming it. Or if it’s something that I just read in an article or in a book, or remembering a movie from years ago.

TSV: What's the wildest dream you’ve had (that you remember)?

JK: It was kind of like Super Smash Brothers Brawl, but like the melee version where there was a giant castle and people were all running around. It was kind of like a weird video game where everyone I knew was in the game.

TSV: Is there a core value in your life that you believe in or follow?

JK: It would be considering all options, definitely taking into account, for example, how if going out all night will affect me in the morning, whether it’s something I’ll regret or stuff like that. Because I’m very indecisive, so that’s probably where it stems from. I definitely want to consider all my options, not to be “Oh I don’t want to miss this and that,” I want to go to everything, but more like how will I react in that environment and to make sure I can still be true to myself when placed in a different environment.