James H. Choi Self Introduction

June 2011
Glenview, IL, USA

Dear Sabio Parents,

I welcome you to my personal blog & education column specifically for parents.

The expression “Sábio Parents” has two meanings. One is the parents of Sabio Academy’s students. The other is “Wise Parents” as “Sábio” means “wise” in Portuguese. Indeed, I will strive to make my readers become wiser parents whether your child is learning from me or not.

Allow me to introduce myself. My names James H. Choi. I am most likely of your generation. I discovered that I share a lot more with people of my generation than people of my ethnicity, culture, gender, you-name-it. I have earned four degrees (Mathematics/Physics/Electrical Engineering/Theoretical Mechanics) in the United States including a Ph.D. from Northwestern University. I have worked in six global companies (including Motorola and Siemens) spanning over 16 years as an engineer/researcher/manager.

Upon hitting my mid-life crisis, I had to do something big. As you know, this takes diverse forms. In my case proceeded to quit my perfectly fine job to start my own not-so-perfect company just because this will be my company, and my legacy: I co-founded Sabio Academy to prepare students for the professional/global world. As I mentioned earlier, the word “sábio” means “wise” in Portuguese, the language with which I went through my Colégio Bandeirantes high school days. I chose that name because I felt that being wise about life was far more important than being good at test taking.

Although I have led a career in scientific research, I actually have led a dual life: working as a researcher during the week, then teaching mathematics/physics to high school students on weekends. Teaching was initially need-driven, to pay for my college tuition, but I continued even when I didn’t need the money. I guess that’s what you call “passion” for teaching. This dual life of mine, and my dual experience as an educator/researcher qualified me for a unique perspective: i.e., I know what American students are learning, and I also know what they need to learn to succeed in the professional world of science and engineering.

Incidentally, I have lived in five countries and I speak four languages fluently: Japanese, English, Portuguese and Korean. I was born and raised in Korea, went to high school in Brazil, went to college/graduate schools in the United States, and worked as an exchange researcher in Japan at Tokyo Institute of Technology. I have traveled and worked in many more: China, India, Malaysia, Singapore, France, England, Taiwan, Paraguay. Unfortunately, I didn’t pick up much language while I was in Paraguay, although I can nonetheless get by in Spanish. But there is “fluent,” and then there is fluent. Of those four languages, I can write well enough in only two: English and Korean.

Whether you went to school in the United States or not, parents are now bewildered because the college entrance process has changed so much. In fact, it has changed significantly within the last five years, never mind 25 years. I am in the thick of it, and also, I never lose the sight that the college should never be the goal of life. The career has to be.

With this global background, career-oriented perspective, and updated reality-awareness of the bewildering college-preparation world, I will be sharing my thoughts with you.

But I would like this to be a two-way communication.

I look forward to seeing your comments and questions soon.


James H. Choi, Ph.D.

  1. VA3045
    November 25, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    I was born and raised in Korea, went to high school in Brazil, went to college/graduate schools in the United Sates,

    Correction: United Sates should be United States.

    • November 25, 2012 at 11:09 pm

      That’s right. Thank you. $1 on your account now. Please keep track of your balance.

  2. manutd0316
    December 22, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    Hi Dr. Choi, it’s Danny Oh I just wanted to let you know that in the third paragraph you said, “My names James H. Choi.” It should say, My name is James H. Choi.

    • ian elliott
      November 26, 2021 at 3:12 pm

      james, is this the james choi who went to mit technical japanese around 1990?
      ian elliott

  3. SA
    April 4, 2016 at 8:53 am

    Have you stopped writing blogs? I find your blogs very interesting 🙂

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