One to Watch: Sean Jung ’24

A Eureka Moment with Lasting Impact

Sean Jung ’24 has embraced the entrepreneurial mindset as a philosophy that aligns with his diverse interests – from the creativity of arts to the analytics of science and math. His father, a Korean immigrant who is a professor at the University of Hawai‘i, has influenced his strong logical and analytical thinking, while his mother, an instructor at UH in East Asian Linguistics and an admirer of music, also from Korea, has fostered his appreciation for the arts. 

“I love to explore the intersection between science and art and how two seemingly unrelated passions can come together to inspire innovation and change,” he says. This realization was sparked through his coursework with Mark Loughridge, director of the Case Accelerator for Student Entrepreneurship (CASE). “Before that, my interests felt scattered. There was no follow-through,” Jung says. “The class became a venue where I pursue projects and make an impact,” he says. 

He hopes his entrepreneurial pursuits will help with the environment through ecobox – a container for takeout foods made from areca palm sheaths that decomposes in eight days and reduces the need for single-use plastics. Jung co-founded this initiative the summer after sophomore year while working with an international team during a two-month program called Launch X, backed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

Jung notes the experience deepened his interest in tackling the universal challenge of climate change. “Even though we lived in different places and had different lives, we all had a shared passion for environmental awareness,” he says. “Living in Hawai‘i, a state with such a fragile ecosystem, I felt like this project should be continued.” Since then, Jung continued advancing ecobox on his own, taking on all aspects of the capital venture, gaining support through CASE and Ken Richardson Learning Lab at Punahou, and interest from local businesses.

But Jung’s diverse talents extend well beyond ecobox. He has collaborated with professors from the UH and Seoul National University on a research project, which was published in the International Journal of High School Research. His work focused on using bamboo as a model to develop cylindrical structures that utilize less plastic. Additionally, he founded the Interact Community Club at Punahou; authored a children’s book to advocate against bullying; co-founded Uluna at Nalukai Academy to bolster Hawaiian businesses and artists; and has represented Hawai‘i in national debate competitions.

Looking to the future, the CASE Distinction candidate plans to further develop ecobox into a suite of products made from sustainable materials. He’s also looking to delve into public policy, drawing inspiration from Chris Bailey ’04, who manages Leeward Community College’s new product development center. Jung sees legislative support as a key component in making real change happen – such as integrating eco-friendly products like ecobox into the mainstream market. This encapsulates Jung’s interest in marrying sustainability with practical consumer products, a rewarding pursuit for the young entrepreneur. In Jung’s own words: “We make time for things we love, and I’ve never had trouble doing something I genuinely enjoy.”

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