Mi Ji Kim
Mi Ji Kim is a firm believer that education is the key to life. She has felt that way ever since she was a child, receiving what she claims to be “the best education money can buy” as a student at Roland Park Country School in Baltimore City. As a resident of Howard County since the age of five, Mi Ji is also a firm believer in the quality and value of the educational opportunities offered at the community college located in her own backyard. In fact, she says Howard Community College (HCC) has been a resource for every member of her family, since their arrival in the U.S. from South Korea in the early 1970’s.
“There is not a member of my family who has not attended HCC in the time we have lived in this country,” said Mi Ji. “My mother took English classes when we first moved here. I have taken a number of courses. My children have come to summer camp at HCC. The school has been a great resource for the employees of our family business. We have all had the opportunity to learn and grow here.”
Giving back is a priority for Mi Ji, as well as her father, Se Ung Kim, whose Columbia-based construction company has grown tremendously over the past several decades. Both father and daughter served for many years on the HCC Educational Board Foundation, and the family also established a $250,000 endowment, named in honor of Mi Ji’s twin girls, now age 14.
“One of my daughters was born with special needs, and her condition has caused my entire family to look at disability in a new way. We embrace it, rather than focus on the challenges associated with it,” said Mi Ji. “The Hope and Faith Endowment provides financial support for kids with disabilities who want to go to college, or for students who plan to pursue special education as their career path.”
Today, Mi Ji works as the Director of Operations for the Center for Education Excellence in Alternative Settings. The organization strives to improve access to education for young people in justice or correctional facilities. Mi Ji collaborates frequently with representatives from community colleges, to create pathways for kids once they are released from these facilities. It’s a connection that reinforces her commitment to HCC.“Community colleges do a great job of meeting the real, true needs of the community,” said Mi Ji. “From my own experiences, my family’s experiences, and what I’ve seen in my day-to-day work, I’ve learned that what happens inside a classroom can be magical. And that’s a big reason why we support HCC.”