The Will to Win
Profile of Will Demps
by Julie Young
"I have to say - and I say this with a record of unblemished heterosexuality - Will Demps is smokin' hot." This hilarious quote, written by a straight man, which was found on an Australian blog called Eurasian Sensation (http://eurasian-sensation.blogspot.com/), pretty much sums up every human beings reaction to a photo of Will Demps. Even my four year old daughter’s reaction to a photo of Will was, “Oooo la la, he’s handsome!” (Thank goodness she has good taste! But geez are we in trouble!) It’s a fact that Will Demps, former NFL player for the Ravens, Giants and Texans respectively, has been blessed with astoundingly good looks. One could easily assume that such an attractive, former professional athlete would be quite full of himself. The reality, however, is that Will Demps is a man who is humbled by the many blessings in his life. He is guided by his Christian faith and he recognizes the importance of giving back to the community.
As I waited for Will in the lobby of his hotel, I didn’t know what to expect. We’d spoken on the phone to arrange the interview but I wondered, what would this man, whom legions of women (and men) adore, be like in person? He arrived to the lobby looking like a West coast celebrity. Decked out in Ray Bans, expensive jeans, tan blazer with a light pink scarf and a knit cap, there was no doubt this man was used to the limelight. Yet, he beamed with his freakishly perfect smile, apologized for being late and gave me a big hug, as if we were longtime friends.
By Irene Park
At 30, Daniel Choi is still new to many things. For one thing, there’s life away from the military. There’s the newfound fame surrounding his high-profile activism. And then of course, there’s the undeniable fact of his being gay.
You may already be familiar with the story of how Choi helped to bring about the repeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT), the U.S. policy that banned openly homosexual individuals from serving in the military. The former lieutenant first rocked the nation on March 20, 2009, when he came out on The Rachel Maddow Show; soon after, he was discharged from the New York Army National Guard under the very policy he was protesting. Later on March 18, 2010, he and fellow gay veteran Captain James Petrangelo II handcuffed themselves to the White House fence demanding that DADT be repealed. And finally in late 2010, Choi attended the signing of the bill that would remove homosexuality as a cause for dismissal from the army.
For someone so exposed to the limelight when it comes to activism for gay rights, Choi still seems somewhat unadjusted to his new lifestyle as a reputed gay rights activist. Beneath his easy charm and endearing candor lie the subtle signs of unease, like the constant fidgeting at the collar of his shirt and a restless leg. After all, how to be a public figure isn’t the only thing Choi has had to learn.
Profile of Dr. Paul Oh
By Michelle Oh
Robots may once have been reserved for the world of science fiction, but they exist among us now and, more quickly than we realize, are becoming a more prevalent and vital part of our society. Today, around the globe, there are robots that dismantle bombs, aid surgeons and even fight wars.
Dr. Paul Oh is among those pioneering the next wave of robotics in this country. Oh is currently an Associate Professor and serves as the interim head at Drexel University's Mechanical Engineering Department. He is also the founder and Director of the Drexel Autonomous Systems Lab (DASL). When he isn’t teaching in the classroom or managing a lab, Oh lends his expertise to prominent organizations such as NASA, The Boeing Company and most recently, the National Science Foundation where he served as the Program Director for Robotics in the Computer and Information Sciences and Engineering (CISE) from 2008 to 2010.
“Everyone has a preconceived notion of what a robot is,” Oh said. “Everyone will draw something that’s very similar to each other. If you ask a lay person, they’ll say something like, ‘It’s an assistant, something that does what I want it to do.’”
But for leading experts in the field, like Oh, that’s not enough.
Profile of Marja Vongerichten by Julie Young
Never in a million years did Marja Vongerichten think she would become the unofficial ambassador of Korean food to the United States. Her story is well known at this point. Born to a Korean mother and an African-American serviceman father, at the age of three she was adopted by an African-American couple, Colonel James Allen and Margo McKay. She credits her parents and their meticulous record keeping, for being able to easily find her Korean birth mother again. Shortly after she was adopted, her father, Colonel James Allen searched out Marja’s birth mother in order to gain more background information for Marja. Mr. Allen found Marja’s birth mother by going door to door in a small town in Korea. When he finally located her, Marja’s birth mother was disappointed to learn that Col. Allen was not there to return her daughter. By that point, Marja’s birth mother wanted her daughter back. Despite it being too late for her to reclaim her daughter, Marja’s birth mother still sat with Col. Allen and gave him an enormous amount of information for and about Marja. It was this knowledge that later allowed Marja to easily find her birth mother when she was nineteen.
Ironically, when Marja did find her birth mother, she was living in Brooklyn, New York. Not far from where Marja had traveled many times for acting auditions throughout her youth. For the reunion with her daughter, Sooki, Marja’s Korean mother, made her a traditional Korean meal of dishes she loved as a child. It was the first time Marja had had a Korean meal since leaving Korea when she was three. Fittingly, it was a homecoming for her. Her love for the tastes of her birth country was re-ignited. Much to Marja’s surprise, the reunion with her birth mother was also a baptism, of sorts. After her home cooked meal with her birth mother, Marja’s mother drew a bath and proceeded to scrub Marja from head to toe. Motherhood regained.
Easy Braised Chicken
I ate a delicious braised chicken dish with vegetables and noodles called j jimdak in the city of Andong and another great stir-fry of chicken with vegetables and rice cakes called dakgalbi in Chuncheon. Both of these chicken preparations were wonderfully satisfying one-pot meals full of flavor. I combined some of the ingredients and techniques in both of those iconic dishes to come up with the easiest chicken dish in my repertoire, not to mention one of my favorites. In this recipe you just brown a cut-up chicken, add tons of vegetables and a bunch of seasonings, put a lid on it, and in an hour you’ve got a hearty dinner on the table. This is real Korean home cooking
- One 4-pound chicken
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Umma Paste (see below for recipe)
- 1 tablespoon soju, sake, vodka, or water
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds
- 8 small boiling potatoes, peeled
- 2 medium yellow onions, coarsely chopped
- 2 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 bunches scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 fresh green chile pepper, thinly sliced (optional)
- 1 fresh red chile pepper, thinly sliced (optional)
- Cooked white rice, for serving
- 4 large garlic cloves, peeled
- 3 tb gochugaru ( red pepper powder)
- 3 tb fish sauce
- 3 tb soy sauce
- 3 tb gochujang ( red pepper paste)
- 3 tb soju
Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and purée to a smooth paste. Makes 3/4 of a cup
- Cut the chicken into 10 pieces (2 wings, 2 drumsticks, 2 thighs, halve the breasts).
- Season the chicken pieces aggressively all over with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large, wide heavy pot over high heat.
- Working in batches if necessary, add the chicken, skin-side down, and brown on both sides, 6 to 7 minutes per side.
- Meanwhile, whisk together 1⁄2 cup water, the Umma Paste, soju, honey, and sesame seeds. Set the sauce aside.
- When all the chicken is browned, add the potatoes, onions, carrots, scallions, and reserved sauce to the pot and stir everything together.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook, stirring now and then, until the chicken is cooked through and yielding and the potatoes are tender, 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes.
- Sprinkle with chiles if you’d like, and serve with rice.
Marja Vongerichten is the host of PBS series, Kimchi Chronicles, a program about Korean cuisine and culture, that is equal parts food and travelogue. She is also the author of the Kimchi Chronicles companion cookbook, which was just released this year. She lives in New York City with her husband, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and their daughter, Chloe.
CLICK HERE to read Profile of Marja Vongerichten by Julie Young