On March 2, Ewha kicked off the 2022 spring semester, welcoming incoming freshmen class like any other year. However, this year, like no other, Ewha also gave a warm welcome to freshmen from two newly-established majors: the Division of AI Convergence and Interdisciplinary Pharmacy.
In response to the Fourth Industrial Revolution bringing about rapid changes to technology and industries, the Division of AI Convergence aims to cultivate talented students who can lead the development of technology and national industry based on artificial intelligence (AI) expertise.
The curriculum focuses on teaching not only computer engineering knowledge necessary to understand AI, but also critical problem-solving skills applicable to disparate fields of study. The major is projected to play a pivotal role in achieving Ewha’s vision to raise “creative women intellectuals who will pioneer the future.”
Professor Min Dong-bo took the post of administrative secretary of the Division of AI Convergence faculty establishment preparation committee. He believes that the convergence aspect of Ewha’s AI curriculum is the key to success. Unlike other schools, Ewha offers several subjects that converge in fields including education and business innovation, which is vital for fostering skills in the application of AI.
Oh Yoo-jin, a freshman from the Division of AI Convergence, found out about the newly-built major while researching for colleges to apply to after finishing the Korea’s College Scholastic Ability Test.
“Hoping to become a developer, I was always interested in majoring in fields related to computer engineering,” Oh said. “I knew instantly that I wanted to apply to the Division of AI Convergence after reading about the major. I am looking forward to taking the AI Programming I class this year and Machine Learning class in my sophomore year.”
Along with the opportunity to take classes with the latest updated learning materials, Oh is excited to make lasting bonds with her relatively small cohort of 40 freshmen and interact with professors.
At the same time, she expressed concerns about not being able to make connections with the upperclassmen. For instance, unlike other majors, the Division of AI Convergence is currently incapable of organizing student-led events due to the absence of a student council.
So far, the school has made efforts to assist the freshmen in the Division of AI Convergence to adjust to their new major by allowing them to sign up, under a priority application, for a competitive mentoring program, Ewha Dawoori.
“I am glad that the school gave us an opportunity to interact with the upperclassmen from other majors,” she said. “In the future, I hope students communicate more with the faculty members. For instance, many freshmen complained about the lack of seats available to take graduation requirement major courses. Initiating such conversations could certainly mitigate any discontent from students.”
Along with the Division of AI Convergence, Ewha introduced another new major called Interdisciplinary Pharmacy under the Division of Pharmacy. On top of its existing pharmaceutical curriculum, Interdisciplinary Pharmacy aspires to train well-rounded pharmacists who will play a leading role in the global bio-health industry based on its convergence education in fields including computer engineering, business management, and international studies.
Kim Jee-min, a freshman majoring in Interdisciplinary Pharmacy, never imagined herself majoring in pharmacy as she studied humanities in high school. Nonetheless, she became genuinely interested in studying medicine after her teacher introduced her to Ewha’s Interdisciplinary Pharmacy and researched the major.
As a former humanities student, Kim admitted that some of her concerns include not only the possibility of falling behind in classes that review professional academic material, but also surviving six long years of college education.
However, she explained that Pharmerang, the student council of the College of Pharmacy, made extra efforts to alleviate such worries and created an inclusive environment for all students during the freshmen orientation, which was conducted through the metaverse. Pharmerang went the extra mile and distributed freshmen welcome kits that consisted of practical items including hoodies, masks, and freshmen guidebooks.
Kim is also eager to take the newly created courses including Lab Rotation and Freshmen Seminar, which are exclusively offered to first and second years in the Division of Pharmacy.
“Most importantly, I look forward to seeing how much personal growth I will achieve over the next six years in college,” Kim said. “In the future, as of now, I would like to either work in a pharmacy at a hospital or become a pharmacist-lawyer.”
Professor SeungJin Bae, the Department Chair of Interdisciplinary Pharmacy, shared that Interdisciplinary Pharmacy plans to shape students like Kim into pharmacists that think outside the box and pursue multidisciplinary fields including business development for pharmaceutical companies and government agencies related to licenses, drug-pricing negotiations, and health insurance benefits.
Professor Bae elaborated that Ewha is already equipped with the optimal environment for such multidisciplinary education: a toplevel university that offers quality education in international studies, public administration, and business management. She hopes that the freshmen make good use of the resources and cherish every moment at Ewha.
“Congratulations and welcome to all the freshmen who made it through the difficult entrance exam,” Professor Bae said. “Especially to the freshmen from the Division of Pharmacy, I look forward to seeing many of you working as pharmacists and leaders with a mission to promote the health of people in an article titled, ‘Ewha Womans University College of Pharmacy: Golden era of future industrial pharmacy,’ 20 years from now.”