Extra! Korea

March 12, 2010

Former Miss Korea accepted to PhD programs at Harvard and Johns Hopkins University

Filed under: celebrities, education — extrakorea @ 1:04 pm

Where has this woman, Geum Na-na, been all my life? It’s a rhetorical question, but if you want an actual answer, it’s: winning beauty contests in Korea and then going to school, both at the undergraduate and graduate level, in the United States. Specifically, she was Miss Korea for the year 2002, and has been accepted to PhD programs at Harvard and Johns Hopkins University, including one with a full scholarship.

The 27-year-old previously made headlines for gaining admission to prestigious undergraduate schools, including Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She graduated from Harvard with a bachelor’s degree in biology.

During a recent telephone interview with The Hankook Ilbo, sister paper of The Korea Times, Geum said she has qualified to become a doctorate candidate in three departments: epidemiology at Harvard, and epidemiology and cellular & molecular medicine at Johns Hopkins. For the medical program, she was also offered a full ride, which would cover not only tuition but also living expenses for five years.

After graduating cum laude from Harvard College, Geum is currently working toward a master’s degree in nutrition at Columbia University. She will be completing the accelerated one-year course in August.

[ snip ]

Geum was a pre-med student at Kyungpook National University when she won the Miss Korea pageant. Even though she earned impressive undergraduate grades at Harvard she was rejected by 26 medical schools.

Her original plans for medical school failed but she wasted no time sulking in disappointment and pursued an alternative course. And she succeeded.

Here she is nowadays:

And here are photos from her Miss Korea days.



In my experience, medical schools are full of hotties.


  1. Something doesn’t add up…it’s not THAT difficult to get into medical school.

    Comment by Cal — March 15, 2010 @ 2:33 am

  2. I think it this is a great accomplishment.

    Comment by TGV — March 15, 2010 @ 6:25 pm

  3. Cal, it’s not unusual to get rejected from dozens of medical schools, even if you attend an Ivy League university, particularly if you’re Asian. They have a set number of slots for Asians and admissions is much more difficult essentially you’re competing solely against other Asians from top schools when you apply to medical or Law school. I know ppl with good grades from Ivy schools who are rejected across the board, and have to reapply the following year after working in a lab or as a paralegal.

    Obviously if she were white, Jewish or “minority” (minority meaning underrepresented demographic like black, latino, etc) she wouldn’t have been rejected from as many schools.

    Comment by Tex — May 20, 2010 @ 5:44 am

  4. Everyone at Harvard gets cum laude. Cum laude at Harvard doesnt really mean anything. You need magna or summa. That means you really got good grades.

    Comment by I know it all — December 23, 2010 @ 4:48 am

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