April 28, 2020

SLS Awards 2020 - Outstanding Staff Award

JB Kim is the recipient of this year’s Outstanding Staff Award, which is given to a LC staff member who has excelled at leadership and service this year.
  • JB Kim, Assistant Dean of Diversity & Academic Resources at the Law School, dressed in all black standing near the front of the photo; in the background are small ponds with bridges going over them and trees in the distance.

JB Kim is the recipient of this year’s Outstanding Staff Award, which is given to an L&C staff member who has excelled at leadership and service this year.

JB Kim is the assistant dean for Diversity and Academic Resources at the law school, and has led the Academic Enhancement Program and the Summer Institution for the past 12 years. One of SLS’ student staff members caught up with JB recently to learn more about the great work she’s been doing at Lewis & Clark.

SLS: What is your role at Lewis & Clark? Officially, I know you are the assistant dean for Diversity and Academic Resources on the law campus, but I hear you wear a lot of hats!

JB: I work to recruit and retain diverse students to the law school and the legal profession. This includes advising prospective students, current students, and alumni on a wide range of issues.

SLS: What does service and leadership mean to you?

JB: For me, service means working for the greater good, widely defined. Leadership is encouraging others to live up to their best potentials.

SLS: Could you tell me about the way service and leadership have been incorporated in your life, both with L&C and beyond? (Is it actively a part of your goals, is it part of larger ones, what keeps you motivated and passionate?)

JB: Lawyers are taught to serve their clients’ legal needs. As an administrator, my role is the serve the institution and further its goals. Specifically, I help support students in crisis, strengthen academic skills, and work to improve diversity and equity on campus. I love working with our students. They are smart, funny, and passionate. It’s a two-way street. I also learn so much from their experiences and perspectives.

SLS: How long have you been a Pio, and what keeps you engaged with the L&C community after all this time?

JB: I graduated from Lewis & Clark Law School in 1994. I’ve been working at L&C since 1998. Several of my law school professors are still teaching. There is a strong sense of “place”, a beautifully maintained and wooded campus and an intentionally collegial culture. My colleagues on staff are wonderful: warm, committed, student-centric professionals. I enjoy my work and the law school community.

SLS: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time, and/or what have you been up to this quarantine?

JB: I am a big science fiction/fantasy fan and play a lot of tabletop role-playing games (mostly D&D and Pathfinder). The quarantine has put a crimp on my in-person gaming. My partner and I have started growing vegetables from seed. We’re newbies at this so we’ve been watching tons of YouTube videos. I am originally from Hawaii and paddled outrigger canoes in high school. I currently paddle with the Columbia River Outrigger Canoe Club, and (absent quarantine) paddle in a six-person racing canoe on the Columbia River. I also have a 13-year-old son that I pry away from his computer as needed.

SLS: Is there anything else you’d like to add or share (additional messages, thoughts, or photos)?

JB: I like to use inspirational quotes in my materials, mostly from The Art of War or The Book of Five Rings. One of my favorite quotes is from Frank Herbert’s Dune.

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

I like this quote because it’s a reminder that we can try to control our emotions. Fear is normal, human, and healthy. But, fear suppresses our frontal lobes, our ability to rationally make decisions.