Joonwoo Lee, Counseling Psychology

Joonwoo LeeWhat brought you to UW–Madison?
When I first entered college in Seoul, South Korea, my major was psychology. However, after transferring to a liberal arts college in Marlboro, Vermont, I switched from psychology, to physics, and then to economics. I definitely spent some time seeking out who I am and what I like. After graduating from college, I went back to Korea; after a year of working at a company, I realized that my true passion lies in psychology and more specifically counseling psychology, which was what I pursued in high school. This summer, I just finished an MA in Counseling at Korea University. It’s sometimes funny how you get to where you truly belong after a long, yet valuable, roundabout journey.

"I hope to become a counseling psychologist who particularly focuses on serving the LGBTQIA+ population through research and practice."

What are you most looking forward to at UW–Madison?
What I cherish the most from my undergraduate experience is that it opened up my eyes to diversity, equity, and social justice issues in the world. It was truly a life-changing event. I wish to continue on this journey and maturation at UW–Madison. I would like to grow into a person who can further affirm diverse identities including my own. I still have much more to learn about fully embracing both others’ and my own identities. I think the counseling program at UW–Madison is an especially safe and open place for this with its focus on social justice. 

What will your focus be this semester?
This year will be the first of many to come in my doctoral program. I will try my best to believe in myself and not to overstretch myself, but also to fully immerse myself in my interest area. Above all, one of my main goals this year is to stay healthy and safe. 

What are your career plans after graduation?
I hope to become a counseling psychologist who particularly focuses on serving the LGBTQIA+ population through research and practice. Until today, the LGBTQIA+ population is significantly underserved and misunderstood in South Korea. I hope to provide the population with accessible mental health resources.

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