Eunwoo Sam Jun has come a long way to get to graduation. Jun graduates this fall with a degree in interior architecture and design and is a first-generation college student, an international student from South Korea, a veteran, and an undergraduate researcher. During his time at Colorado State University, Jun has participated in undergraduate design work in Assistant Professor Jain Kwon’s Spatial Perception and Cognitive Experience (SPACE) lab. Join us in congratulating Eunwoo Sam Jun and learn more about his experiences at CSU below.
Where are you from and what brought you to CSU?
I grew up in South Korea and moved to Maryland by myself for school when I was 15. Since then, I have been living in the United States.
I came to CSU to pursue my study in veterinarian science because CSU has one of the best programs in the nation. After I had been attending CSU for a couple of years, I became more fascinated by our Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) Interior Architecture and Design Program and also the great facilities and surroundings.
What obstacles have you overcome to get to graduation? How have you persevered through unforeseen circumstances?
I have faced several obstacles during my college years. First, would be changing my major. I was studying Zoology for the first two and a half years at CSU, but slowly I was beginning to lose interest in it as I realized I wanted to do something more creative and have an opportunity to express myself more freely. However, I was too afraid to change my major because of the risk of delaying my graduation as I had already taken some time off due to my military enlistment. Nevertheless, I decided to take the risk and change my major to IAD and I couldn’t be happier as I absolutely love what I am doing, and I am excited to see where this path leads me.
Second, would be that two of my high school friends passed away in the past two years. One of them, who passed away from a car accident in June 2021, was my very first roommate in the U.S and he and I shared so many good memories together. He was very special to me because he was basically my first impression of America and he taught me a lot of valuable lessons. It hit me really hard especially because it was during the pandemic and I was not able to see many of my friends, so dealing with the loss of one of my closest friends alone was extremely difficult and it forced me to learn how to cope with my emotions all while staying on track both personally and academically.
How have your academic experiences here and your professors, mentors, and advisors helped you to overcome these obstacles and/or be successful in your major?
I had such a great academic experience here because of many faculty members’ help. Professor Ryadi, who was my formal instructor of studio and other classes, was always welcoming me whenever I faced obstacles in class and personally. He oftentimes sent me motivational and cheerful quotes to encourage me and shared his personal experiences for our benefit. I felt that he truly cares and respects others as human beings. It definitely helped me to be a better person and open my perspective to be more creative.
Dr. Scolere, who was my formal professor for materials class, was extremely helpful with her amazing knowledge in this field. During the pandemic, we had both online and in-person classes and she was always giving us very in-depth lectures both online and in-person. I remember when I asked her a question during class, she not only verbally provided me with an answer but also sent me an email with additional details. It definitely helped me to have the best outcome in class during the pandemic. She was always willing to help students and provide thoughtful and helpful content for students.
Dr. Kwon, who is my capstone professor, is one of the professors who helped me a lot to overcome these obstacles and to be successful in my major. Because I worked closely with her for my capstone and internship in the lab, I have gained lots of knowledge through interaction with her. She is very passionate about her field of study and willing to spend extra time for students to be successful. Being an international student could be sometimes frustrating because of visa status, language barrier, homesickness, and other challenges, and she was willing to have a conversation with me and help me to get through it. She also provides students with a lot of hands-on experiences.
I am very thankful to all the faculty for contributing hard work to make the program better. I remember my first year in the IAD program in Aylesworth Hall. I would say our program grew because of the faculty’s dedication.
What activities have you been most involved in?
I currently work in the Spatial Perception and Cognitive Experience (SPACE) Lab as an undergraduate researcher. The SPACE Lab utilizes various technologies, including eye-tracking, electroencephalography (EEG), immersive virtual reality (VR), and computerized dynamic posturography (CDP). Our neuro-design approach emphasized the application of research findings in design practice specialized in interior settings posited in the larger context of built environments. It is also one of my internships and I learned a lot from this experience such as co-design, user-driven design, neuro-design, eye-tracking, and methods for conducting research. Currently, our team is working on a project in the Gifford Building to enhance users’ experience within the built environments and wayfinding in the existing building. We have conducted eye-tracking experiments to see users’ gaze behavior and apply that to the design. It is very beneficial for me as a future designer because we design based on scientific data that we collected.
What are some accomplishments that you are most proud of during your time at CSU?
I was proud of myself after I presented my capstone project to the class and faculty and had positive feedback. I was just so happy to see people interested in my capstone and ask me questions.
(Jun designed a Family Center for Colorado Springs specifically targeting underserved populations such as youth, seniors, and veterans with the goal of enhancing users’ well-being, feeling safe/secure, and growing together as a community as part of his senior capstone project. His work will be featured in the virtual senior show on the Design and Merchandising website.)
All those interactions helped me become a better designer and furthermore, a better person.
What will you miss most about CSU?
Friends – CSU is like a community – the surroundings, environment, energy, and vibe. The abundant opportunities to make friends, connections, and new experiences.
What are your plans after graduating?
I am currently looking for a job as a designer and plan to work right after graduating.
The Department of Design and Merchandising is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.