Tillman scholar working on her Ph.D. at Arizona State University

“I’m a 68 Romeo. What we do is we basically look at food defense and food safety,” Park said.
Published: Apr. 19, 2022 at 2:26 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - While in high school, Tillman Scholar HyeJung Park got what she described as devastating news.

“My senior year of high school, I received a letter from USCIS. A deportation letter actually so with that letter, I became undocumented,” said Park. She knew she wanted to be here in the United States, a place that was truly home to her. Around the same time, her home state passed the California Dream Act and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Because of that, she was able to stay and get her degree.

A short time later the Army came calling. “They recruit basically these individuals who are able to speak a critical language and are able to go into a medical field,” said Park. As part of that recruitment program, she was given citizenship which is something she knows many undocumented people don’t often receive. It was something she calls life-changing.

“I’m a 68 Romeo. What we do is we basically look at food defense and food safety,” Park said. She and her team make sure that every meal is coming from a safe and approved source and is properly handled.

Back home, HyeJung is working on her Ph. D. at Arizona State University, and in her spare time, she loves to garden and makes pottery to express herself. Once she has her degree, she says one of her main objectives is to help children. “To provide a community where youth feel more engaged more, that they feel like they have a feature and a stake in the community in the lives that they are a part of,” Park said.

Park said she was drawn to the Tillman Foundation because of the support from other scholars. “In Hamilton, they talk about like, I want to be in the room where it happens and I knew that within the Tillman Scholars circle is where it happened, where people who have similar visions as I do, who wants to change the community for the better, we’re sitting down and having a discussion,” she said.