“Math Genius” Claiming Joint Admission to Both Harvard and Stanford Revealed to Be a Hoax
High school senior Sara Kim (Korean name Kim Jung Yoon) was touted as being a math genius just a week ago by a flood of Korean media and claimed that she would matriculate to both Harvard University and Stanford University through a special program set up especially for her. However, it put the entire nation in shock when it was revealed that she actually faked her acceptances to both universities and forged emails from various officials and professors.
Sara Kim, a student at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Virginia, claimed that she did math research that was so revolutionary that she was getting love calls from both Harvard University and Stanford University. She also claimed that after each university tried to convince her to come to their school, they decided to allow her to matriculate to both schools and to allow her to choose the school that she wanted to receive her diploma from when it was time for her to graduate.
However, on June 10, Kyunghyang Newspaper revealed that what was reported about Sara Kim getting into both Harvard University and Stanford University was false in many regards, and revealed the interview that they conducted with Anna Cowenhoven, a Public Affairs and Communications officer at Harvard.
“The Harvard admission letter that Miss Jung Yoon (Sara) Kim has is a forgery,” and revealed, “Miss Kim was not admitted to Harvard, and she will not be attending Harvard University.” She added, “The admission process to Harvard University is public, and forging a Harvard admission letter often occurs. It’s not surprising.”
Stanford University’s statements matched with Harvard’s. Lisa Lapin, senior communications officer, said in a phone interview, “A program where a student would matriculate to both Stanford and Harvard and study at both universities before choosing to receive a degree from one university does not exist.” She later confirmed with Yonhap News, “I am confirming that the letter you received was NOT issued by Richard Shaw or Stanford University.”
Joe Harris, a math professor at Harvard University, who Sara Kim claimed was her mentor, said in a video interview, “I don’t know Sara Kim, and I certainly don’t know anything about her admission to Harvard University.”
Her other claims, including those saying that she got a perfect score for her SATs and that she qualified to write a national math competition, are also being questioned.
Korea Daily, which was the first media outlet to report her as a math genius, has since admitted that they misreported, and has issued an apology.
Since then, Sara Kim’s father revealed that he would deal with the situation through a lawyer.