Joint Concentrator in East Asian Studies and Statistics Receives 2019-2020 Korean Language Achievement Award

April 16, 2020

Emma Toh, wearing a grey v-neck dress, smiles in front of a bed of red flowers.
Emma Toh '20, Joint Concentrator in EAS and Statistics
Each academic year the Harvard University Korean Language Program (KLP), in partnership with the Korea Institute, presents Korean Language Achievement Awards to its most outstanding students. The prizes are intended to “recognize devotion and excellence in learning the Korean language and culture to the advanced level at Harvard University.” By recognizing the achievements of top students, the KLP aims to inspire more undergraduates to acquire Korean language skills and cultural expertise.


There are three recipients for the 2019-2020 year, all graduating seniors: Maria Tirnovanu ‘20, Emma Toh ‘20, and Aaron Shi ‘20. Emma Toh is a joint concentrator in East Asian Studies and Statistics who has been actively involved in the EAS and Korea Institute communities throughout her time at Harvard. From the beginning, Toh demonstrated a strong dedication to learning Korean, taking courses all eight semesters of her undergraduate career. She also attended the Harvard Summer School in Korea program, where she advanced her language ability through cultural immersion and the study of Korean film in Seoul. While Toh is the record-holder among this year’s recipients for time spent studying Korean, Senior Preceptor and Director of the Korean Language Program Hi-Sun Kim praised all three students’ passion for the language. “I have no doubt that they will continue to have a connection to Korea one way or the other after they graduate from Harvard,” Kim said.


An exemplary model of the interdisciplinary possibilities of East Asian Studies, Emma Toh conducted her statistical thesis research on the rise of single-person households in South Korea. She has accepted a post-graduation position with a global consulting firm whose mission is to “help the world's top leaders solve their toughest challenges.” Her cheerful smile will be greatly missed at future events, but the department looks forward to seeing her future in East Asian Studies unfold.