A Locust Valley student's participation in an exclusive college course has helped to open the door at her high school for a new class on Asian Studies.

Kristina Kim, a Friends Academy senior, was one of 26 students nationwide this summer to participate in Stanford University's Sejong Korean Scholars Program, an online course that offers a broad overview of Korean history and culture.

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The class consisted of 9-10 virtual classes as well as lectures and live discussions with ambassadors, top scholars, and experts in the United States, she said.

"I'm half Korean, but I really didn't know much about the heritage and history," said Kim, 18, who submitted an application, an essay and a teacher recommendation to get selected. "I thought this would be an interesting opportunity for me."

Her effort led to Friends Academy history teacher Ryan Aponte being invited to the Hana-Stanford Conference on Korea for U.S. Secondary School Teachers in July. The event helped him develop the curriculum for a course on Asian studies, which is currently a one-semester elective at the academy.

Kim is a member of Friends Academy's Diversity Committee and People Understanding and Responding Everywhere to AIDS (PURE AIDS) Club.