Motive unclear for Rutgers grad charged with posing as New Brunswick High School student

NEW BRUNSWICK – While the motive remains unclear why 29-year-old Hyejeong Shin allegedly enrolled in New Brunswick High School, more information is surfacing about her real identity.

According to Rutgers University spokesperson Dory Devlin, Shin graduated from Rutgers University-New Brunswick in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in political science with a minor in Chinese.

On Rutgers' website, Shin is identified as a Fall 2017 Learning Community Scholar at the Institute for Research on Women (IRW), School of the Arts and Sciences.

The focus for her year there was "Feminism and Resistance: Politics, Peril, Power."

Shin, who lives in New Brunswick, has been charged with one count of providing a false government document with the intent to verify one's identity of age, said Deputy Director J.T. Miller of the New Brunswick Police Department.

Hyejeong Shin pictured in a 2017 Rutgers University photo.
Hyejeong Shin pictured in a 2017 Rutgers University photo.

On her biographical page on the Rutgers IRW website, supposedly written by Shin, her name "is pronounced HEY-JUHNG and, although it is a little hard to say, it means blessing of the family, so is worth sticking with."

She identified herself at the time as a junior majoring in Political Science and Chinese.

"My major academic interests are language and linguistics, and how they affect human identity and culture," Shin said in the biographical note. "I’m also interested in understanding humanitarian issues in global society."

Related:New Brunswick community concerned after woman charged with posing as high school student

Shin said that she was a secretary of the Global Citizen Club at Rutgers and was involved with the Study Abroad Global Network panel.

"I can be very quiet, but I do slowly open up and start talking more as I become more comfortable," Shin wrote. "I engage with people through different ways, mostly through writing or other methods. A fun fact about me is that I love meditation, and I sing when no one is around."

In a statement last week, New Brunswick Public Schools Superintendent Aubrey Johnson confirmed that an adult woman posing as a student allegedly filed false documents and gained access to the high school during the week of Jan. 16.

Students, expressing concern on social media about the incident, said the woman was at the school for four days, befriending students and asking them to meet with her off campus.

The students said they had questions about the woman's motivation for posing as a student and are concerned that they may have been in danger.

Some speculated the woman could have been a front for a human trafficking organization.

Students said they have been told by the district not to communicate with Shin if she attempts to contact them.

Cheryl Makin is an award-winning features and education reporter for, part of the USA Today Network. Contact: or @CherylMakinTo get unlimited access, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.

This article originally appeared on Rutgers grad charged with posing as New Brunswick High School student