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Student wins awards at national and regional Korean speech contests

UNG student Brianna Welch won awards at national and regional Korean speech contests.

University of North Georgia (UNG) student Brianna Welch had a chance to tie together her Korean language skills with her family history to earn an award at a national event.

Welch, a junior from Cumming, Georgia, pursuing a degree in East Asian studies with a Korean concentration, won a Korea Culture Award at the annual Korean Speech Contest hosted virtually by the South Korean Cultural Ministry in October. She recorded a three-minute talk connecting her grandfather's role as an interpreter to the story of a Korean soldier in the Hungnam Evacuation that saved more than 14,000 lives during the Korean War.

"It was fun to learn the history and use my language skills," Welch said. "And I can tie it in with my family."

Welch was one of 34 students to receive an award from the virtual event. Two UNG students took part in the contest that totaled 224 participants.

She followed her success with a first-place finish in the most advanced non-heritage level of the third annual Southeastern Korean Speech Contest. There, she expanded her talk to five minutes for a live Zoom call and competed against students from Auburn University, Duke University, Emory University, Georgia State University, Georgia Tech, Kennesaw State University, University of Georgia, and Vanderbilt University.

"Brianna has never been to Korea, but she is a role model for students who want to study a foreign language and enrich their cultural understanding without studying abroad," said Dr. Jiyoung Daniel, associate professor of Korean at UNG. "While I am excited about her recognition and accomplishments, I am not surprised at her achievement. She has been a stellar student."

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