Hyun Ja Norman was born in Gudam, South Korea in 1968. She was the seventh child of nine children to her parents. Her family managed a small store where her father was a butcher. Norman went to college and studied Spanish because many companies at the time were doing business in South America. After graduating college, Norman went to South America as a part of the Korean Peace Corps where she sought to help others. It was on these trips to South America where she met her husband and later married him in Trinidad and Tobago before coming to the United States. The couple came to the United States through Miami and later settled in Houston where Norman got a degree in political science from the University of Houston. All her life, Norman has been passionate about public service and giving back. She believes strongly in community engagement and creating resources to help people in diverse communities vote. In this interview, Norman talks about her experiences as a child, as a Peace Corp member, and as an active member of the Houston community. She shares her experiences in political advocacy and working for voting rights. She also talks about the challenges and rewards of establishing her own nonprofit organization Woori Juntos whose mission is to provide services to first generation immigrants of the Korean and Hispanic community with translation and acquiring citizenship.
View interview transcript PDF — Full interview materials on Rice Digital Scholarship