The University of Utah
College of Architecture + Planning

UAC Urban E Ecology Student: Na Kyung Kim

UAC Urban E Ecology Student: Na Kyung Kim

The Utah Asia Campus (UAC) is located in Songdo, South Korea, where CMP offers a BS in Urban Ecology. Thirty students are currently enrolled in the Urban Ecology program. As undergraduates admitted to UAC, students will spend three years studying at the Asia Campus and one year studying at the U in Salt Lake City.

“The view of the campus on a snowy day, a deer that I happened to see through my dorm window, and clean air were some of many things that made me realize how lucky I was to be studying Urban Ecology in Utah. The ambiance of the comforting and beautiful campus gave me new energy every day, and the company of American friends who I had met at Asia Campus gave me a lot of strength. I also gained confidence when one of the professors with whom I had interacted at the Asia Campus approached me first to say hello. Unfortunately, due to the unexpected outbreak of COVID-19, I had to leave campus life behind and adjust to online classes in my home country of South Korea.

One of my courses was a workshop taught by Jordan Katcher of the Utah Community Development
Office in which I worked on the topic “Change in Gateway Communities due to COVID-19.” My research focused on how COVID-19 affected people in Bluff, Utah. My teammates and I surveyed 300 residents and four major stakeholders, including the mayor of Bluff. Each person shared different opinions and I was able to identify challenges not found in the media. My final presentation contained information about Bluff’s COVID-19 response, including challenges, innovative practices, and lessons learned. Innovations such as the use of mobile apps to reflect travel changes and contactless travel will allow Bluff to continue to thrive moving forward. I hope my research findings will not only help improve gateway communities, but also influence future strategies in advertising, tourism trends, and medical systems to manage pandemic situations.”