In the fall of 2018, Eastern welcomed a new faculty member to the Communications Department: full-time tenured-track assistant professor Dr. Hyeri Jung. This fall is the third semester Dr. Jung has taught at Eastern, but she also taught in Korea as well as served as a Teaching Assistant when she attended UT Austin. Because she came from a secular educational background, Dr. Jung’s move to Eastern was very special, for she thought that she could not integrate faith and learning. From her time in South Korea, where she is from, to her time in America, she was socialized to think that she could only practice faith on Sunday.
“God brought me here so I can enter a new world where education is a part of Christianity,” Dr. Jung said.
Dr. Jung currently teaches Public Speaking, Digital Storytelling, and Art of Film. Art of Film will be taught over the summer as a part of the Fast Pass list of courses.
“A lot of higher education is revamping… their curriculum and Eastern is one of them. I am happy to be a part of that transformation,” Dr. Jung said.
In reference to the courses Dr. Jung teaches, she especially loves her Media and Culture class, a course I had the pleasure of taking last spring. Although she has degrees in Journalism and Communications, she is especially fond of cultural studies.
“I love focus[ing] on global media culture… this is the only course where I can explicitly talk about [it],” Dr. Jung said.
In addition for her love of course material, Dr. Jung openly expresses her fondness for her students studying Communications as well as students who just take her courses. These students are the reasons why she loves teaching here at Eastern alongside a talented Communications faculty.
“I love students. Put in three exclamation points!!!,” Dr. Jung said.
Being able to have Dr. Jung as a professor is a true blessing. No matter the subject, she is always eager to support her students. She is also so passionate when she teaches, making the students more eager to learn alongside of their professor.
Included with her passion for teaching, Dr. Jung too is a K-pop enthusiast and is unashamed to discuss her love for it even in class.
“K-pop is amazing… It will really open your eyes… your perspectives on gender representation… [and the] gender dichotomy that has a very strong, fixed understanding here in the U.S.,” Dr. Jung said.
Last spring, when I took Media and Culture, I was given the presentation topic that was about K-pop and their Western, female fans. This presentation got me into K-pop; thus this presentation gave me my life.
Although Dr.Jung loves fangirling over all things K-pop, she especially loves the group, Monsta X. This group consists of seven members: singer, Wonho; rapper, I.M.; rapper, Jooheon; singer, Kihyun; singer, Minhyuk; singer and visual, Hyungwon; and singer, group leader, and Dr. Jung’s ultimate bias, Shownu.
“I made a career out of K-pop,” Dr. Jung said.
Outside of going to K-pop concerts, supporting each artist and group’s comeback, Dr. Jung also supports them by putting her academic brain to the fandom. Fr. Jung has numerous journal articles and even an entire dissertation dedicated to studying K-pop– from its cultural economic impacts as well as its impacts on Western norms.
“K-pop is not just a hobby. It transforms your life,” Dr. Jung said.
Apart from K-pop, Dr. Jung also enjoys watch Korean dramas as well as the Korean cooking show, Mukbang. Dr. Jung also enjoys learning new languages. So far, she knows Korean and English. She is also good at Japanese and more of a beginner in Spanish and French. If she had more time, she would want to learn German and Mandarin Chinese.
Dr. Jung is a firm believer that students should strive to pursue a career that incorporates their hobbies and what makes them happy.
“If you love something, go for it,” Dr. Jung said.