The Jeongseok Kong & Sunmi Jin Memorial PhD Endowment

The Jeongseok Kong & Sunmi JinThe Jeongseok Kong & Sunmi Jin Memorial PhD Endowment was created to provide grants for PhD students enrolled at the School to enhance their research agenda or skills. These grants help cover dissertation expenses, travel to educational conferences, or other education-related expenditures. Preference will be given to students who are enrolled at the School on F-1 student visas.



About Joeng Kong and Sunmi Jin

Jeong Kong entered the UMSSW PhD program in the fall of 2012. He had completed his second year of courses and was taking comprehensive exams in the summer of 2014. That summer, while traveling in New York to celebrate their first wedding anniversary, Jeong and his wife Sunmi died in a tragic car accident. In their lives they modeled many strengths, including courage, commitment, balance, and love. Jeong and Sunmi demonstrated courage in moving to the U.S. to live and study in a new country. Doctoral-level study is challenging for anyone, but international students such as Jeong face the additional hurdle of performing at a high level in multiple languages while learning how to navigate a new and different culture. Finally, Jeong demonstrated great commitment to his research in cyberbullying among U.S. and Korean youth. UMSSW Kong-Jin PhD Endowment 2

This memorial endowment was designed to showcase Jeong and Sunmi's commitment to social work scholarship. The award will benefit future generations of UMSSW PhD students, while keeping alive Jeong’s and Sunmi’s names and the ideals by which they lived.

Applicant criteria, award criteria, application materials, and review process are outlined below.

Applicant Criteria:

  1. PhD student at the UMSSW.
  2. Good academic standing according to University of Maryland Graduate School policy.

Award Criteria (in addition to preference to students with an F-1 visa):

  1. Potential significance of the activity or project to develop or enhance the student’s research agenda or skills.
  2. Preference will be given to PhD students who have not yet defended their dissertation proposal. 

Application Submission Materials:

Please submit the following documents for review:

  1. Essay (1-2 pages)
    • A brief description of the PhD student’s proposed research activities; including approximate cost
    • A brief description of how the proposed research activities will enhance the student’s research agenda or skills while complementing the student’s learning in the PhD program
  2. Unofficial Transcript (most recent)

Applicable Research Expenses:

Funds from the Jeongseok Kong & Sunmi Jin Memorial PhD Endowment can be used for the following purposes:

  1. Conference travel (networking)
  2. Consulting fees for external mentors
  3. Workshop and/or seminar training
  4. Quantitative, qualitative and/or mixed methods data analytic training (e.g., registration, books, course material fees)
  5. Research consultation fees
  6. Data access or data sharing agreement fees and expenses.
  7. Preliminary/pilot research studies supporting the PhD student’s future dissertation research
  8. Dissertation research expenses
  9. Primary data collection expenses (e.g., postage, copy fees, interview incentives)
  10. Statistical or qualitative software
  11. Research assistance

Funding Restrictions:

Funds from the Jeongseok Kong & Sunmi Jin Memorial PhD Endowment cannot be used for the following purposes:

  1. University administrative and overhead costs
  2. Honoraria for UMSSW dissertation chair, mentor, faculty training or consultation
  3. Compensation for student's time/effort


  1. Applications will be solicited up to once per semester. The next application deadline is May 1st
  2. All applications should be submitted electronically to the PhD Program Director .
  3. Any questions related to the submission process should be directed to the PhD Program Director/Program Coordinator.