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  • Michaela Chan

Big Red Spotlight with Emily Yoon



On this release of Big Red Spotlight, we have Emily Yoon from the women’s rowing team! Emily is a freshman in the College of Engineering studying Computer Science. She is from Los Angeles, California and rows port side.


Michaela Chan (MC): Why did you end up choosing rowing?

Emily Yoon (EY): I grew up a competitive swimmer and I thought I would carry that into college, but I ended up losing my love for it. Rowing was a sport I had the privilege of having access to that had all the pros of swimming such as it being a water, endurance, and painful sport. I was able to transfer what I learned from swimming to rowing with the excitement of the unknown added.


(MC): What is your favorite snack to have at regattas?

(EY): If I am feeling healthy, I would say carrots or trail mix. My favorite thing in trail mix is the nuts; I am NOT a raisin girl. If I am not feeling healthy, I would say brownie bites and gummy bears.


(MC): Do you have any superstitions?

(EY): I used to be the most superstitious athlete ever! When I swam, I had to have either zero earrings or a lineup of very specific earrings. I could not have any hair ties on my wrist, I had to wear a latex cap, and wear one specific swimsuit. With rowing, I have to have my hair look nice and slicked back and have no hair ties on my wrist still.

(MC): Do you believe in ghosts then?

(EY): I do believe in presences of some sort but not specifically ghosts.


(MC): Top 3 music artists?

(EY): I am going to get so exposed, but I would say Joy Crookes, Hozier, and Zach Bryan. I was not a proud country listener until recently.

(MC): Do you have any oddly specific playlist names?

(EY): Yes! My EDM playlist is called “Peggy Dreams” because if I was in an alternate universe I would be here. There is one called “boathouse aux but men” for songs I would play in the boathouse if the men’s team was there. Some other ones are “light me on fire,” “put the caffeine down,” and “slam the door,” which is a playlist that you have to listen to while speed walking through campus angrily.


(MC): Who are three athletes you are close with not in your sport?

(EY): Sophia Devling on Sailing is my engineering buddy, and she and I are similar people so we get along pretty well. Second is Lucea Wright on Track and Field because we carry ourselves in the same way. It is really nice to have someone I can relate to with the same grind/mindset as me. Third is Connor Morgan on Football because he is my best friend.


(MC): If you had to play a sport you have not done, which would you choose?

(EY): I don’t know why, but when people do not know which sport I play they tend to guess soccer, so I would choose soccer for that reason. The soccer team here also has really good energy so I think it would be fun to play with them.


(MC): What do you like to do for fun in your free time?

(EY): Back at home I loved just going on drives with my friends. We would drive around the coast in Southern California, drinking our kombuchas, and just spend a lot of time together. One of my favorite things is spending time with people. What do you do for fun back at home or here?

(MC): Back at home, I would go to the beach and try to watch a lot of sunsets. Here, I try to catch up with my friends because I can get so busy.

(EY): It is kinda hard to do things here. When I have free time here, I try to take time to lie down and rest.


(MC): What are 3 words you would use to describe your personality?

(EY): I would say I am blunt, mellow, and multifaceted. I can fit whatever is going on and I can switch from being the silliest person in the room to the most serious.





(MC): What is something specific you cannot live without?

(EY): Other than family and friends, I would say sparkling water or kombucha. I am a huge fan of Health-Ade kombucha but I also love the local ones in Ithaca.


(MC): What is a hobby you have that is not related to rowing/ swimming?

(EY): I have a tattoo machine, so I used to tattoo fruits.

(MC): Do you have any tattoos and if so what is your favorite?

(EY): Yes I have a few. My favorite is the one on the back of my arm that says “purpose not power.” This is a quote that someone I really look up to said, and I feel like it is a good embodiment of my goals in life.


(MC): Do you collect anything?

(EY): My family collects tiles. My mom would have me, my sister, and her paint tiles at Color Me Mine so that she can collect them and make a wall out of the tiles we made. We currently have around 15-20 tiles.


(MC): Favorite study spot at Cornell?

(EY): I love Duffield because it is my ideal study environment. It is where people are relatively working while having a good amount of background noise.

(MC): Least favorite spot?

(EY): I will never be in a library other than 2nd floor Mann. I hate Olin because the vibes and lightning feel off for me. I cannot go past where Libe or the coffee is.


(MC): What is your favorite memory at Cornell not relating to athletics?

(EY): This one is tricky.

(MC): Meeting me!

(EY): Yes, meeting Michaela! (EY laughs) A lot of my favorite memories relate around rowing, but a small favorite thing is when I see my friends from home on campus. A lot of people I used to swim with ended up here. These are people I have known since I was 9, so seeing them randomly on campus brings a nice sense of familiarity.


(MC): What are you grateful for at Cornell?

(EY): I am glad that Cornell is filled with a lot of unfamiliar things. Coming from Southern California, people ask me all the time why I came here, and I feel like college is the one guaranteed time for me to experience something new.


(MC): If you could eat dinner with anyone who would it be?

(EY): I would talk to my mom when she was younger, around her early twenties. She had such an iconic style, so it would be cool to see what she was like back then. She is one of my inspirations and one of the most resilient people that I have ever encountered. She grew up teaching me that I can accomplish and do anything I want, and she is one of my best friends.


Thank you to Emily for joining us, and BIG thanks to you for reading and supporting BRSN and my new column. Be sure to check out other written pieces, and stay tuned for the next edition of Big Red Spotlight soon!


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