Student Spotlight: Ami Choi

Ami Choi, PhD student in Natural Resources Science and ManagementAmi Choi is driven to increase access for racial and ethnic minority communities in public recreation settings. A third-year doctoral student, Choi is interested in the challenges that immigrants face and when traveling and recreating in nature areas and how they cope with these challenges. Traveling has been Choi’s passion throughout her life. Born in Saint Paul, MN, she grew up in Seoul, Korea after her family moved there when she was seven years old. She attributes her love of traveling to her undergraduate major in English literature and the tourism classes she took at Hanyang University in Seoul. “I became highly interested in understanding tourism-environment relationships, impacts, and tourist behaviors which motivated me in my decision to pursue graduate school,” she said. As a master’s student at Hanyang University, she examined the role of tourist personality on perceptions of travel risk and intentions to travel. Since then, Choi has been involved in projects focusing on visitor behavior in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan as well as projects on the impact of terrestrial invasive species on visitor preferences for urban forest recreation settings.

“After graduation, I am looking forward to working as a professor and researcher, focusing on racial and ethnic minorities’ tourism behaviors, intergroup relationships during tourism activities, and promoting racial and ethnic diversity in public recreation settings.” Outside of her program, Choi enjoys exploring local coffee shops, yoga and camping. She dreams of camping in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area after passing her prelims, as a gift to herself.

Advice to future graduate students? Choi said, “Connect with a community of support that will keep you motivated and accountable. Know why you’re here and why your research is important. Don’t give up. Be persistent and believe in yourself. You’ve got this!”