Texas Tech University

Research Spotlight on Women Faculty: Jeong-Hee Kim, Jocelyn B. Scott, and Alessandra Corsi

March 11, 2020 |  

During March, Texas Tech is celebrating women faculty who exemplify excellence in research, scholarship, creative activity, teaching, and mentoring.

Jeong-Hee Kim
Professor; Associate Chair; Department of Curriculum and Instruction

Jeong Hee Kim

Working as a curriculum theorist, teacher educator, and narrative inquiry methodologist, her research centers around various onto-epistemological underpinnings of curriculum studies, focusing on the philosophical notion of Bildung, an edifying way of developing and cultivating the self for the better.

What inspired you to work in your field/area of expertise?

My areas of expertise are curriculum studies and narrative inquiry. Through narratives and stories, I explore the lived curricular experiences of school people (including teachers and students). I was first inspired to work in these areas by my former students at a vocational high school, who were engaged in disruptive behavior more often than desired. When I was their teacher eons ago, I never understood why they acted that way; I thought they were the problem. But my research on the lived experiences of others in similar situations as my former students revealed that it was the system that had failed them. I know better now and I wish I had been a better teacher. Another inspirational influence was my doctoral advisor, Dr. Tom Barone, who got me hooked on narrative inquiry. I had an unforgettable mentor and teacher, who still inspires me today.

Who inspired you to pursue academia?

It wasn't a person who inspired me to purse my career in academia, but rather, the experience of the work study job I held as an undergraduate student. My job was cleaning professors' offices after they were gone. I remember how much I admired their offices. Full of books and papers everywhere. Picking up their trash, I thought they must have the best job in the world. They come and go as they please. They read and write as they please, I thought. I wished I could become like them someday, but didn't think I was smart enough to achieve a Ph.D. But those professors' empty offices were the secret place for my fantasy: What would it be like to become a professor? Even though I didn't have the slightest idea about becoming a professor at that time, my fantasy was the hidden impetus of pursuing a career in academia. I now know that being a professor may not be the "best" job in the world, but close enough to make me feel proud of it. I still cannot believe my dream has come true!

What would you tell your female students interested in pursuing an academic career?

I would tell them to stand up for themselves when needed. Here is my story. When I was doing a teaching internship as part of the coursework with one of the professors in my Ph.D. program, I involuntarily became the professor's personal assistant, doing all kinds of errands unrelated to teaching and research. I was not treated well. I endured her exploitation without a word of complaint until the professor mocked me publicly in front of her class for being a stereotypical, "obedient" Asian woman. I left the classroom crying, humiliated. I ended up dropping the internship class. The professor tried to bully me into coming back by saying I was being too sensitive, but I never went back. I severed all ties with her and never talked to her again. This visceral experience became the turning point for me that made me realize the importance of having a voice of my own. It taught me to never be afraid of defending for myself when mistreated/disrespected, because there is no one but myself, who can do it. This is especially important to remember for female students, who often discredit themselves as lacking the voice and the power to speak up.

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Jocelyne B. Scott
Visiting Assistant Professor; Graduate Assistant Advisor; Women's & Gender Studies

Jocelyn B. ScottScott's research interests are rooted in feminist and queer theory and queer kinship formations, critical whiteness studies, qualitative research methods, popular culture, sexuality, social justice, and the politics of homosocial communities.

What inspired you to work in your field/area of expertise?

Discovering Women's and Gender Studies, for me, was a very happy accident. As an undergraduate I took an intro course to fulfill a core education requirement and I was hooked! I sought out all of the courses I could to continue broadening my worldview related to inequality, the experiences of marginalized people, and activism. I was incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to design and conduct my own undergraduate research, present at departmental functions and university conferences, and receive highly individualized faculty attention within the Department of Women's and Gender Studies as an undergraduate, all of which deepened my passion for the field. The faculty I worked with suggested that I consider graduate school. Their belief in my capabilities made me consider this career possible. It was truly my life-changing experiences in the classroom coupled with my passion for the field that inspired me to pursue a career in Women's and Gender Studies.

Who inspired you to pursue academia?

The undergraduate mentors I found within Women's and Gender Studies encouraged me to believe in myself and my capabilities to pursue graduate school and complete it successfully. Their teaching and mentorship changed my worldview as well as the course of my life. It was my interactions with faculty in the classroom and in an individual mentorship capacity that inspired me to pursue academia and their ongoing mentorship continues to inspire me to do so.

What would you tell your female students interested in pursuing an academic career?

Seek out mentors that support you and encourage you! Imposter syndrome is real - start talking about it with other people and you'll realize that it's not just you. Believe in yourself and if you're struggling to do so let people's belief in you guide you.

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Alessandra Corsi
Associate Professor; Department of Physics and Astronomy

Alessandra CorsiCorsi's research focuses on time-domain astronomy (with special emphasis on relativistic transients) and gravitational wave physics.

What inspired you to work in your field/area of expertise?

Curiosity about how the cosmos works and the fact that I wanted a job where you never stop learning.

Who inspired you to pursue academia?

My parents and my high school math and physics teacher (a female teacher).

What would you tell your female students interested in pursuing an academic career?

Be persistent and enjoy the journey toward your goals. Know that not everything will go the way you wanted it to go, but the surprises that journey reserves for you can be even better than what you had wished for.

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