John is a submatriculating undergraduate and graduate student. For his BA, John is double-majoring in East Asian Languages & Civilizations (EALC) and World History. For his MA he is majoring in EALC with a concentration in Korean Studies. His research interests focus on modern Korean history and on topics such as military history, religion, and transnational interactions in East Asia. He plans to pursue a PhD in Korean Studies after graduating from Penn.
Before coming to Penn, John spent ten years in the U.S. Army as a Korean linguist and analyst. He studied the Korean language at the Defense Language Institute and served two tours of duty in Korea, totaling five years, as well as one tour in the Middle East. It was his military experience which sparked his interest in Korea and started him on a career path focused on East Asia. After leaving the Army, John began working as a writer and analyst for NK News, a website focused on North Korea.