Alumni Highlight – June 2016

With lots of activity and accomplishments brewing among the alumni, we will be highlighting one member each month to share a little insight into the personal news from around our FSU AAA community.

This month we are highlighting an alumna who was a trailblazer and role model for many Asian Americans at FSU. She is the first and only Asian American in FSU history to hold the office of Student Body President. Furthermore, the [then] Asian Student Union wouldn’t exist today without her approval and advocacy of the proposal presented by Faye Hunt and Rich Sealy to create such an organization.


LizaPark



Name: Liza Park (LinkedIn)
Graduated: ’94 – BA Media Performance & English; ’98 – JD
Location: Atlanta, GA
Occupation: Lawyer at Kaine Law





Interviewed by Thomas Jeng

  1. What are you up to these days?

    “I practice personal injury. I used to practice law and was a lawyer while I was in Tallahassee, but left [Tallahassee] after I got engaged. My husband is also an attorney, but he’s currently in the Virgin Islands. I moved to Georgia due to family and we live near a big Korean population.”

  2. What do you like most about your job?

    “Helping injured people. It’s very satisfying to help someone who is going through hardship, such as physical disability from a car crash. When you’re legally being helped, you have someone looking out for you. That feeling gives people the peace of mind and hopefully provides closure to a bad situation.”

  3. So what does a “day in the life” look like for you?

    “I get up, get ready, get my child ready, take him to pre-school, then go to work. At work, there’s a myriad of things like talking to insurance people or preparing for trials or negotiating cases. I meet a lot of different clients. Because of my work schedule, it’s not unusual to get out at 7. I focus on work and family, have dinner, and prepare for the next day.”

  4. Any words of wisdom to undergrads or students who are seeking the same line of work?

    “If people want to enter law, they need to consider how mobile or immobile they want to be. For one, they need to pass the state’s bar exam as each state has their own exam.
    They really need to figure out if they want to do it because it’s very expensive compared to other careers and takes 3 years. They should also get an idea of what an attorney’s life is like because the media tends to distort what an attorney does. For example, attorneys spend most of their career not in a courtroom, but in an office, and it’s not as glamorous. However, every attorney’s life is different. Regardless, being an attorney puts you responsible for other people’s lives and is a high stakes job. It might be just one of many cases for attorneys, but it can be the most important thing for a client’s life. It’s a very stressful life.”

  5. What inspired you to become a lawyer despite it being a stressful profession?

    “I started working at law school when I was a sophomore, so I was exposed to law in FSU and my dad had been an attorney in Korea. I’m interested in legal aspects of anything that goes on. I didn’t have a grand goal of being a famous attorney. I’m just interested in the law as well as politics.”

  6. What about life outside of work? Any interests or hobbies?

    “I am 45-years-old and I married late in life. I have a child who’s 3-years-old and taking care of my parents as well. As a young individual though, I did anything I liked such as volunteering and work for different organizations, but now these family obligations take up time a lot of my time.”

  7. How do you balance professional and personal life?

    “I can’t say I have balance most of the time, but I do the best I can. I work a lot and, in fact, nowadays I work more because of my extended shift. But since I enjoyed it, it didn’t feel like I went to work. To me, it didn’t feel unbalanced. If you work a lot, if you really enjoy it, you’re not so unbalanced even if you work a lot. But remember that time with family is precious as well.”

  8. What organizations were you involved in at FSU?

    “Co-founded Burning Spear, Student Body President (’96-’97), President of Lady Spirit Hunters, President of Delta Zeta sorority, Student Alumni Association, Student Senate, Council 100 (but it didn’t last), Seminole Torchbearers, Congress of Graduate Students (CoGS), and I was 1 of 7 finalists for Florida Student of the Year. I ended up becoming friends with another of the finalists and the eventual winner was a grandmother in her 60’s.”

  9. Any specific FSU memories or fun facts?

    “I stayed for a long time because I pursued 3 degrees. I earned two Bachelor degrees — Media Performance and English — and a minor in Women’s Studies. I also studied abroad for a half year in Korea and I went back to FSU for law school. Fun fact, I approved the [establishment of the] Asian Student Union during my term as Student Body President.”

  10. Reflect back to your time at FSU until now. How have you evolved as a person?

    “Life before kids is about you, whether you intend to be self-centered or not. Unless you have some family emergency, people in college worry about themselves. Life changes when you have kids. You have to start thinking for what’s the best for your kids. It’s a game changer. Having kids early is tough because they lose a lot of your personal liberties to take care of your kids.”

  11. You’ve had a successful career, collegiate and beyond. What’s an accomplishment that you’re most proud of?

    “My most lasting accomplishment was co-founding Burning Spear. There are many that may not have heard of it, but the organization’s members continuously work to improve the student body and university as a whole.”

  12. So what do you look forward to these days? Any expectations for the future?

    “I am excited to be a part of the Asian community in Atlanta because I grew up in Alabama. My family was the only Asian family and the sorority I joined was mostly white. I basically grew up in a white world until I moved to Atlanta. It was the first time I’ve had significant friends like a Korean church (with an English speaking ministry since my parents went to a Korean speaking one) and met people like myself. I previously had no Asian friends, but this made me happy and I look forward to developing more relationships with people, not necessarily Asian. I am also excited to be part of a county that is so diverse and can become the change of better representation of that diversity.”


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