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Women in Politics: College Edition – University of Pennsylvania

Welcome to Women in Politics: College Edition, where women leaders in student government across the country will be featured on

Welcome to Women in Politics: College Edition, where promising women leaders in student government on college and university campuses across the country will be featured on over the course of the year. Joyce Kim has been nominated by the University of Pennsylvania as a leader making a difference not only through key issues on campus, but in bridging the gender gap in politics.

As part of a new series at msnbc, “Women of 2014,” these hand-selected women become part of a larger discussion of women candidates and women’s issues on a national level. “Women of 2014” is a home for all women in politics – notably those in some of the year’s most pivotal races – with newsmaker interviews, profiles, photos, a Twitter trail following more than 35 candidates, and deep dives into the key conversations.

From the Ivy Leagues to the Big Ten to liberal arts colleges and beyond, young women are making a difference across the country – meet them here!

School: University of Pennsylvania

Hometown: Allen, Texas

Concentration: Major: Political Science; Minors: Korean Studies and Urban Studies

Role in Student Government: Student Body President

Dream job: Working for United Nations Educational, Scientific, Cultural Organization (UNESCO) or the Department of State. Being a professor would be ideal, too.

Class year: 2015


What is your biggest challenge as a leader on campus?

Each of Penn’s 12 schools, and many resources centers, are responsible for managing their own revenue and expenses because of the University's business model (Responsibility Center Management (RCM). As a result, although the administration is receptive to listening to student’s voices, it is bureaucratic. This can be frustrating and can cause miscommunication between the administration, faculty and students. Addressing the decentralization when it comes to issues like sexual assault violence prevention or mental health can be a big challenge. 

Which female leaders do you draw inspiration from?

Among many inspirational female figures, I deeply admire Corazon Aquino, who was the first female president in Asia. She played a key role in toppling 21 years of authoritarian rule and restoring democracy in the Philippines. I also find Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the current President of Liberia, inspirational, based on her work in non-violence and peace-building.

What comes to mind first when you think about important moments in history?

I think an important moment in history was the founding of the United Nations. The UN is an important actor for peace-building and human development on a global scale. As the word continues to globalize and become interdependent, international cooperation is highly relevant. I believe the UN facilitates this kind of cooperation.

What do you think should be President Obama’s No. 1 priority?

Access to equality can be pivotal to social mobility. Thus, President Obama’s number one priority should be education. Currently, only 4% of the federal budget goes towards education. Considering the educational disparities across the country (i.e. collapsing public education system in Philadelphia vs. the public high school I attended in a Dallas suburb), there needs to be more investment in the education system.

Do you have a favorite Instagram filter?

It depends on the picture, but I tend to like Mayfair.

Follow Joyce on Twitter @joycekim77 and Check out last week’s female leader!

To nominate an exceptional undergraduate female leader in student government please email Anna Brand at