LAHS Senior Yunseo Kim Named 2023 Coca-Cola Scholar, Awarded $20,000 College Scholarship

In a surprise visit attended by representatives from the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, her parents Yongho Kim and Hyunjoo Kang, LAHS administration and members of the Hilltalkers, Yunseo Kim was named a 2023 Coca-Cola Scholar and presented with a check for $20,000. Photo Courtesy LAPS

Yunseo Kim/Courtesy photo


Yunseo Kim, a senior at Los Alamos High School, has been named a 2023 Coca-Cola Scholar and will receive a $20,000 college scholarship. Less than 1/6th of 1% of applicants were chosen to receive this extremely competitive award. Only 150 high school seniors were selected from an initial pool of 91,000+ applications from across the country based on their academic excellence, leadership, and service demonstrated in school and community activities as part of a 3-stage selection process. See the full list

Yunseo Kim, an exceptional senior at Los Alamos High School in Los Alamos, has been recognized as one of the country’s most outstanding high school leaders by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation and has been awarded a $20,000 college scholarship. As a member of the 35th class of Coca-Cola Scholars, Yunseo not only exemplifies superior leadership, service, and academics – she is a change agent, positively affecting others in the community. Yunseo is one of 150 selected from 91,000+ applicants from across the country to receive this scholarship. 

Coca-Cola Scholars will attend Coca-Cola Scholars Weekend in Atlanta April 13-16, where they will be the guests of honor at the 35th annual Coca-Cola Scholars Banquet and participate in the Coca-Cola Scholars Leadership Development Institute facilitated by program alumni. Collectively, the Coca Cola Scholars Foundation will award $3.1 million in college scholarships to these outstanding young leaders.  

“I’m truly honored to be named a Coca-Cola Scholar,” said Yunseo. “I believe my sense of responsibility not to stand by the injustices of our world but rather initiate change to create a better world is not only my calling but exactly what inspires the community of Coca-Cola Scholars. To me, being a Coca-Cola Scholar means joining a family of people who care deeply about serving others, and I’m incredibly excited to have the opportunity to meet passionate students from across the nation in Atlanta, Georgia next month!”

Yunseo is a leader dedicated to uplifting communities and empowering voices. She founded her own initiative to support refugee students by collecting thousands of school supplies, and as President of Rotary Interact, led projects packaging 100,000+ meals to fight food insecurity in New Mexico. Ranked 8th in the nation and 4-time State Champion, Yunseo serves as Co-President of her Speech & Debate team and holds nationally published work. She also fights for the destigmatization of mental illness as a Natural Helpers Officer, directed a Youth Worship Team during COVID-19, and is an 8-time 1st place winner in the New Mexico State Piano Sonata Competition. Yunseo currently explores minority inclusion as a district Student Board Member and at Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Office of Diversity and Strategic Staffing, and formerly was a 2022 US Senate Youth Delegate, 2021 Model International Criminal Court Representative, and a Global Citizens Summit coordinator with UNICEF on Women’s Education in Afghanistan.

One of her favorite experiences during her years at Los Alamos High School was Homecoming Week 2022. “For me, there is nothing more heartwarming than building meaningful relationships with my peers and bringing joy to those around me,” she said. “Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the pandemic disrupted our sense of normalcy and connection. Nevertheless, we persevered, and it was gratifying to celebrate a special week together as a community. As a member of the homecoming court, I was also thrilled to participate in Court for a Cause, an event that raised over $1,000 for mini-grants supporting teachers! Furthermore, being crowned Homecoming Queen was an incredible honor and a memory that I will cherish for a lifetime.”

“Yunseo Kim is a shining face at LAHS,” said LAHS Acting Principal Renee Dunwoody. “She is always making people feel welcome and included at the school.  Her smile and happy personality are what stand out to me the most.  She is compassionate and truly loves working to make Los Alamos High School a better place. She is invested and engaged at the school and works every day to increase community and connections among her classmates. ” 

Mrs. Dunwoody continued, “She is an optimist and uses her talents and energy to provide meaningful experiences for those in the community as well. She actively volunteered at Respite Care Night for community members and was the lead on the Rotary Interact Peace Glow for Ukraine. She has given her all to Los Alamos and we are very proud of her and her accomplishments.” 

A joint effort of Coca-Cola bottlers across the country and The Coca-Cola Company, the Coca-Cola Scholars Program is the largest corporate-sponsored, achievement-based scholarship program in the United States. With the addition of the 2023 class, the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation will have provided more than 6,750 Coke Scholars nationwide with over $81 million in scholarships over the course of 35 years. 

“We believe that identifying these young leaders throughout the country and encouraging their passion for serving others not only empowers the students, but also lifts up those around them.” said Jane Hale Hopkins, President of the Foundation. “The Coca-Cola system is dedicated to giving back to the communities they serve, and the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation is proud to be a part of that commitment.” 

In addition to receiving college scholarships, the new Coca-Cola Scholars will be welcomed into a vibrant and growing family of alumni that have become a powerful force for positive change in the world. Through networking, collaborations, and friendships, the group strives to make a greater impact together. Recent initiatives include a podcast called The SIP and the sixth year of a coaching program that partners seasoned alumni with first-year Scholars as they transition to college. Every 5 years, all alumni are invited to a Coca-Cola Scholars Leadership Summit.

Yunseo plans to study International Relations and Political Science in college to advocate for global equity and human rights. Her future aspirations include pursuing a career in diplomacy, joining humanitarian aid organizations like UNICEF, and working with the United Nations to drive positive change worldwide. “Whether it is advocating for global access to quality education, fighting for disability rights, or driving systemic change through international law, I strive to amplify silenced voices in our world,” she explained.

The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation celebrates and empowers visionary leaders who are refreshing the world. With its 34th class of Coca-Cola Scholars, the Foundation has provided more than $78 million in scholarships to over 6,600 program alumni who together have become a powerful force for positive change. Learn more at