Soeun “Sona” Kim ’22

Soeun “Sona” Kim ’22 was planning to pursue studies in chemistry when she went on a Finance Trek, sponsored by the Loeb Center for Career Exploration & Planning, during her sophomore year. Over the course of four days in New York City, Sona and a small group of Amherst students explored career paths within the financial services industry. Under the guidance of Stephanie Hockman, director of the Traub Careers in Business and Finance program, the students networked with scores of Amherst alumni through a packed itinerary of informational discussions, employer site visits, networking dinners and receptions.

“Speaking with over 100 professionals in finance and business not only sparked my interest,” Sona says, “but also, with Stephanie serving as a prominent female figure in this traditionally male-dominated industry, instilled in me the confidence to enter it.” Sona became a double major in economics and math, and has worked as an investment banking analyst at J.P. Morgan since graduation.

Stephanie’s mentoring and support made a profound difference to Sona both during and after the Finance Trek. As Sona moved onto a career path that aligned with her interests and personality, she took advantage of the bootcamps, mock interviews and advice that Stephanie offered to prepare for the recruitment process. “Without her, I wouldn't be in the position I am today,” Sona says.

Her appreciation translates into a commitment to pay it forward. For Sona, that means sharing of her time and her treasure. She volunteers for the College as an Amherst Fund Class Agent for the Class of 2022, inviting her peers to join her in making a donation to the College each year. She is a collaborative partner to Amherst Fund staff in supporting class fundraising efforts, and she is a leadership donor to the Fund. Sona also leverages her employer’s gift matching program, which matches her charitable contribution to Amherst one-to-one, enabling her to give at the 1821 Society level.

Sona knows firsthand the importance of the Amherst Fund. “When I look back on my favorite memories from Amherst,” she says, “I realize they were only possible thanks to the generosity of alumni.” From working in Helen Leung’s and Mark Marshall’s chemistry lab as part of the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows (SURF) program to receiving funding to live in the co-operative Humphries House, the College’s resources—including the more than $10 million the Amherst Fund raises every year for the operating budget—enabled Sona to make the most of her undergraduate education. “I hope the Amherst Fund continues to allow all students to enjoy the same kinds of wonderful experiences,” she says.

Sona enjoyed a full-circle moment this past January during another Finance Trek for current students. This time, she was on the other side of the table, sharing her insights as an investment banker.

It’s the people—and how they care about each other—that make Sona most proud of Amherst. She has found the alumnae network in New York to be especially beneficial as a young professional“Whether an alumna is three years or thirty years post-graduation, they are always open to chat and help,” she says.

That camaraderie is a reflection and extension of Sona’s student days. She recalls she and her best friend Janet Han ’22, both double majors in economics and math, helping each other through the work on the third floor of Frost Library. “Even when we were being recruited for the same field, Janet shared study resources and helped me with interview preparation,” says Sona. “Remarkably, we now find ourselves working side by side at J.P. Morgan, still encouraging and supporting each other every day.”