AlumNow: SEM grad not afraid to use failures to succeed

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On first glance, Thomas Jung’s long list of achievements can be intimidating. However, for a young man who has built success one failure at a time, Jung is simply someone who’s not afraid to keep trying. With accomplishments that would leave many scratching their heads wondering what they’re doing with their lives, this 2006 School of Science and Engineering graduate forges his path to success by first believing that he can change the world.

AlumNow, a Hub feature that checks in with district alumni to see where they are now, reached out to Jung, who has put his doctoral studies at Vanderbilt University on hold, for an update.

What are you doing now?

I am president of Dashin, Inc. I helped found a technology startup in June 2015 that uses sensors and learning algorithms to assist first responders as well as athletes.

Briefly list career and/or personal highlights. 

First Place – 2015 “Hack for the Homeland” sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security and the Center for Innovative Technology in Virginia

2014 Best Buddy of the Year – Vanderbilt Chapter

2014 American Chemical Society Leadership Development Scholarship

2009 American Chemical Society Scholar

2008-2009 University of Texas Undergraduate Research Fellow

2008 Excellence in Asian Studies

Inducted into Sigma Xi – The Scientific Research Society

2014-2016 American Indian Science and Engineering Society Scholarship Reviewer

A number of research projects, including Study of Cure Kinetics of Brominated Epoxy Resins for Use in Electrical Insulation Epoxy Backing and Related Manufacturing Issues

3M Internal Paper

Research and Development of a Series of Copolymer Based Membranes to be used in the Separation of Americium and Curium as well as Lanthanides and Actinides in Spent Nuclear Fuel – Professor Bradley Holiday 

What was your favorite subject or activity/involvement in high school? Why? 

Chemistry. I enjoyed many of my classes, but it was the teacher who influenced my passion.

Who was your favorite teacher? Why?

Dr. Charles Tuttle, my Pre-AP and AP Chemistry teacher. I was certainly not the best and brightest student at SEM, but he saw something in me. He allowed me to be in his advanced classes and wrote me strong letters of recommendation. I spoke with him recently to thank him. He replied, “Although you were a quiet student, you were never afraid to ask questions when it came to learning.”

What lesson did you learn in high school or beyond that has served you well through the years?

I began to mature my strengths as well as recognize my weaknesses. It is easy to recognize what you are good at, but people rarely think about their weaknesses. Being surrounded by intelligent students helped me understand that I cannot do everything. As I started my business in June, I knew that I could not do everything. I could not be the programmer, mathematician, salesman, creative, accountant, etc. As a tip, whoever you hire should be a LOT better than you at that position.

What advice, if any, would you offer high school students today?

Research the universities and colleges you apply to. Look for scholarships and grants that enable you to attend the schools that interest you. I chose the University of Texas at Austin because of its nationwide reputation, strong academics, and in-state tuition. I absolutely do not regret this decision. However, do not be afraid to leave Texas. Look at the culture, size, strengths, and other factors of the schools that interest you. Make sure it is the right fit for you.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by the belief that I can change the world for the better. At the University of Texas at Austin, you learn the saying “What Starts Here Changes the World,” and that was ingrained in me. Despite what others may think, the people who have changed the world have gone against the grain.

As I begin my journey as an entrepreneur, I keep in mind that success is the ability to go from failure to failure without the loss of enthusiasm.

College/University and degree(s) earned, year:

University of Texas at Austin — B.S., chemistry, B.A., international relations (East Asia)
Johns Hopkins — Online Certificate, Data Science
Duke University — Online Certificate, Human Physiology

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