Air Force ROTC Opens a World of Opportunity for Si Yun (Sara) Lim ’22

Si Yun (Sara) Lim absolutely knew she wanted to study international relations at Syracuse University, even if she didn’t know where she’d be heading at first. “I got my acceptance letter, and my mom asked me where Syracuse was. I had no idea,” Lim says. “I thought I was going to New York City.”

That might be the only part of Lim’s story that has seemingly taken her off track. She emigrated from South Korea when she was 5 years old, settling with her family in Suwanee, Georgia. Though her father served in the Korean military years before she was born, she found her drive to join Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) through experiences with other military-connected people growing up.

Lim says she always had somebody nearby who was a veteran or whose parents had served. When a neighbor’s experience inspired her to look toward a future career with the FBI or CIA, she learned they prefer a military background and fixed her path toward the military.

“I wanted to be different and do something nobody else in my family was doing, live the exciting life and join an organization where they send me to travel somewhere, but for the country,” she says. “I always looked at the military as one big opportunity.”