One in 5000: Erin Jeon: A Modern Day Renaissance Woman

For Francis Lewis senior Erin Jeon, the grind has never stopped. Whether it is during the school year or the summer, Jeon has continuously put in the time and effort to seek out new opportunities and take on more responsibilities both in and out of Francis Lewis. Model UN President, S.O. President and Assistant Play Director are just a few roles that Jeon has played throughout her years at Francis Lewis. Through her hard work, dedication, commitment, and compassion she has been able to become a pillar of the school community.

“Being involved was one of the things that I wanted to get out of my high school experience,” Jeon said. “I really liked being a part of the school community and I knew that being involved in the S.O. was directly contributing to the school community by creating, working, and participating in school events.”

For Jeon, the S.O. was a way to create everlasting friendships and relationships as it gave her a sense of family within the enormous Francis Lewis population.

“I continued to be a part of the S.O. because the S.O. family is super important to me,” Jean added.  “They’re really a support system at the end of the day and I know I can go and talk to them about anything.  I’ve made really great memories with these people and became very good friends with the people in the S.O, both outside and inside the S.O.”

After being a member of the S.O. for the past three years, Jeon has shared her insight on what truly matters in a future candidate. 

“Being approachable, compassionate and personable is very important because at the end the students want to know that you’re a real person,” Jeon said. “You need to be down to earth, kind, nice, compassionate and communicative.”

Other than contributing to the school community as a member of the S.O. for the past four years, Jeon has also been president of the Model UN team. Despite challenges and obstacles throughout her time, she has played a huge role in the development, growth and success of Model UN.

“I definitely think that it was so special to me from anything else that I’ve ever done because participating in a play is something that’s creative and it’s an art,” Jeon said.

“For me it was definitely challenging to teach the MUN curriculum to the students in an interesting and fun way and not in a boring, monotone way because as president you’re basically a teacher,” Jeon said. “I had to learn how to teach the members of the club and it wasn’t easy because there was nobody and nothing else guiding how to do that.  So that was something I had to create with my board.”

Jeon described key factors from her experience that she believes are vital in order to succeed in your club and role.

“It is important to be passionate about whatever club or role you take part in because not only does that require dedication, but it actually requires you to be intrinsically motivated to commit to that role,” Jeon said.

“I would definitely say make sure you genuinely love the work that you do and to make sure to keep an open mind because oftentimes when you’re in that big of a leadership role, you kind of want to think in your own head,” Jeon said. “But it’s really important to remember that you want to think outside of that and work collaboratively among your peers.”

Jeon continued to take part in the school community despite her other commitments as she takes on key roles in the schools yearly play performances with support from her teacher and play director Ms. Contino.

“When I had Ms. Contino for AP Language in my junior year, she asked me if I wanted to help the play by being the stage manager and she encouraged me to take on that role and put me out there,” Jean said.  “I’m really thankful for that because I’ve made so many great memories and she really helped me get involved. She was the catalyst for everything and then once I got into my senior year we already established that I would be the assistant director with her.”

Reminiscing from her two years in the play, Jeon recounts how the play has been a very special project that she feels was essential to her high school experience.

“The play was so different from anything else that I’ve ever done because it is something that’s creative and just knowing that I had been able to put out that sort of art out there makes me really proud of it and the work that I was doing,” Jeon said. “The entire crew was so motivated and passionate about what they were doing and they made the play experience great and we all worked together like a well-oiled machine giving me so many great memories.”

Nonetheless, Jeon graduated from Francis Lewis this year and is moving on to the University of Pennsylvania to further her education through the QuestBridge Scholarship.

“QuestBridge is a very extensive and lengthy application and process in general so if you are interested in doing it, you should be doing a lot of research and getting ready by your junior year,” Jeon said. “It takes up a lot of your time; it’s difficult, time consuming, requires a lot of dedication and is impossible to do alone.”

“I would also advise to find mentorships, build a relationship with your counselor or your teachers that will really help guide you through the process, create a timeline, and make sure you follow through with deadlines,” Jeon said. “QuestBridge is a lot more fast paced so you are going to be working on your essays, your recommendation letters the summer before your senior year, which was hard because I couldn’t really go out with my friends as much. But I do think that it’s so worth it because you get early acceptance and it really helped me have a very enjoyable senior year and get a full scholarship as it’ll alleviate the financial burden you have on your family.”

Erin Jeon (right) participated in the Walk for Hunger by the International Relations Academy.

To get to where Jeon is now, she reflected back on her high school experience, challenges, sacrifices and tactics to succeed in school and in her future life.

“I think taking on a lot of those extracurriculars, having a leadership role in them, writing about them in my essays and my recommenders talking about that in their recommendation letters really showed my commitment to what I’m passionate about because every extracurricular that I did, I genuinely enjoyed and that was genuinely something I committed to,” Jeon said. “Writing about that throughout my essays helped me stand out and just remembering to be passionate and genuine can put you as a very strong candidate.”

Apart from all of her leadership roles, extracurriculars, hard work and dedication, Jeon credits her success to the nonprofit organization, Minds Matter, for their contributions and support to her education and career.

“The main program that really helped me was definitely Minds Matter, New York City which helps first generation low income students get mentors that guide you throughout the college application process,” Jeon said. “Not only do they build that relationship, but they also provide more resources for you to really enhance your application like internship opportunities and pre-college programs that really helped me build my application.”

Jeon also found that her mindset and personality were big contributors to her perspective on school and the commitments she took on.

Jeon (right) attended and helped plan the student vs. faculty basketball game in the gymnasium, which was one of her favorite events this school year.

“I’m a very ambitious and motivated person, but I know that doesn’t come as easily to everybody else,” Jean said.  “But once you really align yourself with your life goals, personal goals, career goals, and your academic goals, things start falling into place,” Jeon said. “That’s what really helped me accomplish so much and take on so much as it was never a burden to me, especially if it was something that I was really passionate about.”

“I think that once you find your passions and things that genuinely make you happy and make you want to continue doing the work you do, everything comes so easily,” Jeon added.

After four years of high school filled with challenges, obstacles, hardships, friends, and family, Jeon reflected on her experience to give upcoming graduates and students her viewpoint of making the best memories during your time.

“In both social life and academic life, savor every moment because it’s going to go by so quickly and in the blink of an eye, you’re going to be graduating,” Jeon explained.  “It’s also important to make sure you use your time wisely. Don’t try to procrastinate as much, make sure you start getting your life together. Get a job and do something with your life that will really help you have structure. Find out your goals, what makes you happy, what makes you passionate, driven and motivated and the rest will fall in.”