Guest blog post by Hyon B. Shin, Assistant Division Chief, Survey Coordination and Disclosure Avoidance, Social, Economic, and Housing Statistics Division, U.S. Census Bureau
I am honored to have been chosen as an outstanding U.S Census Bureau employee as part of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
One of the most influential people in my life has been my maternal grandmother. She and my grandfather fled North Korea as the Korean War broke out. My mother was young during this mass migration and her younger brother tragically died during the escape. My grandmother held the family together and raised four other children in South Korea. The women in my family are strong (and strong-willed) and we have always said we got this strength from our grandmother.
As I was growing up, my father was president of the Korean American Association of Greater Philadelphia for several years. His service had a profound impact on me. The association made my family and I feel as though we always had a large Korean-American community to go to for support, guidance, language-assistance, and, most importantly, food! In addition to being an integral part of my upbringing, my father’s leadership shaped my views on what it means to give back to my community and to society.
The examples set by my parents inspired me to mentor several internship cohorts over the years. I began as an intern myself at the U.S. Census Bureau 20 years ago, and I find the mentorship program to be extremely rewarding. I love my career at the Census Bureau, and I hope I have been able to impart that enthusiasm to others.
Currently, I serve as an assistant division chief in the Social, Economic, and Housing Statistics Division (SEHSD). I oversee the coordination staff for the American Community Survey (ACS) and the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). My key responsibilities include managing the branches that house subject-matter analysts who provide critical data on social, economic, and housing demographics on our Nation.
I received a B.A. in sociology from The Pennsylvania State University and obtained my Master’s Degree in Demography from Georgetown University. I studied sociology and demography because I have always been interested in research in education, language use, and race/ethnicity issues – all of which I have been able to work on during my career.
Being a civil servant is paramount to me. I believe in the U.S. Census Bureau’s mission to provide quality data to researchers, policymakers, and the public. These data are vital under normal circumstances. But, during these uncertain times, timely, relevant, and quality data are crucial.
My advice for students and anyone interested in a career in the federal government is to think of the greater good. Career civil servants are some of the most dedicated and intellectually curious people I know. I am grateful to all of my colleagues – past and present. I get immense satisfaction knowing that my job contributes daily to the betterment of the American public by providing critical data on our nation's ever-changing population.
Ed. note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series showcasing the vast and diverse work of Department of Commerce AAPI employees during Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month.