Optimal growth: Kwon finds path in industrial engineering

Amid the difficulty of a turbulent first year of college, David Kwon stumbled upon one piece of good fortune.

He had signed up for ISyE 191: The Practice of Industrial Engineering, purely because it was an introductory course that fit into his schedule. With family health issues in South Korea weighing on him and an impending mandatory military service commitment as a dual citizen hanging over his head (most male citizens of South Korea are required to serve), Kwon had endured a bumpy start to his time at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

In addition, Kwon had discovered he didn’t enjoy his chemistry lab, which made him question his choice to major in chemical engineering. In ISyE 191, though, he found himself intrigued and excited by the malleability of industrial engineering, the seemingly unending number of business settings in which he could apply skills from the discipline.

There was just one problem: Even in his favorite class, he still floundered.

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