Dan choi explains 'why i cannot stay quiet'


Andrew H. Choi ’23 had spent most of his life in Southern California, including as an undergraduate at the University of Southern California, where he received a Distinguished Military Graduate award as one of the đứng đầu ten percent of commissioning ROTC cadets nationwide. But Choi was eager for a serious challenge in his first Army posting, so he chose as radically different an environment as he could imagine: Fairbanks, Alaska.

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“I’d hardly seen snow until I went up there, so it was a shock,” says Choi, who over his four years in the Army became an expert in arctic warfare, enduring temperatures that often dipped khổng lồ 50 degrees below zero. “It was colder than I’d ever imagined it’d be.”

As an officer in one of only two Army units specializing in arctic warfare, Choi learned a variety of esoteric yet essential skills: basic survival in extreme conditions, cross-county skiing, cold-weather backpacking. His first assignment was as a rifle and headquarters platoon leader, where he ensured that his 44-soldier platoon was combat-ready and able to deploy on short notice. After being selected as one of the đứng top platoon leaders in the battalion, Choi yearned for another challenge and in 2017 volunteered for U.S. Army Ranger school in Ft. Benning, Georgia, considered one of the toughest training courses in the military. After mastering advanced leadership skills for leading soldiers on particularly difficult missions, he returned to lớn Fairbanks. He was promoted to lớn the rank of captain và became the battalion’s chief of current operations in charge of managing day-to-day operations for 700 personnel.

Choi’s service coincided with a period during which the U.S. & North Korea were “engaging in hostile discussion, where there was almost an imminent threat of conflict,” he recalls. As one of the units closest to North Korea, he và his soldiers were prepared khổng lồ deploy immediately. While deployment did not occur, “and obviously nobody wants that to lớn happen,” he says, “the mentality is that you’ll stay ready for it.”

With a strong interest in entrepreneurship, Choi also participated in a project called Hacking 4 Defense, where he worked with giải pháp công nghệ developers and local Alaskan leaders lớn integrate wave-power công nghệ to replace diesel-powered infrastructure for a coastal town. & on his off time, he relied on his new skills to explore remote parts of Alaska including the Kenai Peninsula.

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“It’s pretty wild out there, và I was able to do some pretty cool stuff lượt thích kayaking among glaciers,” he says. “Backpacking on top of a glacier itself was pretty incredible.” Choi enjoyed participating in a Fairbanks tradition, a 15K run on the summer solstice when there is 24 hours of sunlight và spectators toss beer cans at the runners who themselves are chugging beers. And, on several occasions, he had the extraordinary experience of witnessing the spectacular Northern Lights. “It was a tremendous experience,” he says.

Since high school, Choi planned on a career in law. “Law seems lượt thích a field where you really can make a lot of impact, really champion people that don’t have a voice. I always felt called lớn that mission,” he says. However, he wanted to lớn experience the military first, which is why he joined ROTC at USC.

“I always felt compelled to service,” says Choi. “I always knew I wanted to go to law school but felt I needed some time between starting that career lớn hone myself both professionally và personally. I felt that being an Army officer was going khổng lồ afford me a lot of opportunities lớn hone my leadership skills at such a young age, which not a lot of careers coming straight out of college would provide.”

As an undergraduate Choi interned in the major crimes division at the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, & then, as a senior, volunteered with JusticeCorps, a division of AmeriCorps, where he helped low-income people without lawyers navigate the court system in Compton, California. “I was able to lớn interface with clients on a direct basis & really help make a change, in a small way, in a lot of people’s lives,” he says. “That was inspiring.”

After being accepted to lớn binhphap.vn, Choi chose lớn take his 1L year online rather than to defer because he was eager to get started. He is spending this semester in Los Angeles, where online classes “are going much better than I anticipated. I think that binhphap.vn has taken really great pains lớn plan effectively lớn make the remote experience as good as it can possibly be.” The robustness of the mentorship opportunities offered by the faculty, Student Practice Organizations, và affinity groups—he belongs lớn the binhphap.vn Armed Forces Association, for one—are especially helpful, he says.

“I don’t think anything can substitute for having opportunities to lớn directly network and interact with peers và professors but I think professors have made themselves extremely available khổng lồ students,” says Choi. “In general, I haven’t felt lượt thích my law school so far has been lacking in any particular way.”

While undecided on his career path, Choi is interested in entrepreneurship and working with startups, và he is leading a team in both the binhphap.vn Law Entrepreneurship Project & the Recording Artists Project. Và after his experience in Alaska, he is also drawn to environmental law. “After being in the Arctic & seeing first-hand the effects of global warming, seeing how the permafrost is melting và seeing glaciers melt, it’s honestly pretty heartbreaking,” says Choi, whose binhphap.vn education is partially covered by the GI Bill. “I’d love to be part of some change in the status quo with regard to environmental regulations.”

And he hopes that his experience as a first-generation American—Choi was born in South Korea và moved lớn the U.S. At age six—and a first-generation law student “will inspire others with my background lớn aspire for binhphap.vn.”

Chuyên mục: Tin Tức