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PostWAIS (Officially) Welcomes Bosun Jang (Korea/US) (John Eipper, USA, 02/19/10 5:23 am)
WAISers have known Bosun Jang for several months, since her presentation at the October 2009 conference. Bosun has subsequently posted two very interesting pieces on travel to and education in the Southern Sudan. Now, Bosun sends her formal self-introduction to the WAIS community: I have to say, I'm greatly humbled by the self-introductions posted on WAIS. Though I have the least to share, it's really no excuse to forever delay my introduction. I added some narrative here and there to add some personality. Please count me in. Bosun Jang During my first year of school in the United States, I resented having to deal with classmates who asked me for an easier name. I couldn't come to terms with the idea why should I simplify my (already quite short) name for another's memory's sake? (The concept of multicultural awareness wasn't quite there for 5th graders, including myself.) I had a hard time memorizing names like Stephanie, Nicholas, Dominique, and oh, get this one Francesca. But I never overstepped my boundaries as to disregard the names that their parents bestowed on them. Tired of such requests, I routinely begged my dad after school for an English name. The practice stopped when he made his point clear that he'll not have a hand in de-identifying me. In retrospect, I could not be more grateful for what he did. It is said in Korea that parents should name their children with utmost care, as they are fated to live up to that name. As superstitious as it may sound, widespread throughout Korea are somewhat shamanistic practices surrounding this belief. People seek advice and gracious analyses of the newborn's character from fortune tellers, Buddhist monks, etc. before naming their child. Parents carefully ponder through the Chinese characters for their child's name to ensure that they embody good intentions. Moreover, for males, in-family naming convention defined by ancestors must be followed. The prevalence of such practices is reducing as young generations prefer otherwise. Nonetheless, the notion of associating one's name to his/her destined character remains unchanged. Hence, one's name can say much about the values cherished within a household. It never occurred to me that such a precious thing as a name could be made easier. My family name Jang means generous or giving"; Bo means wide (conceptually); and sun means kind. My grandfather reportedly named me after one of South Korea's presidents, Yoon Bo-Sun (although his Bo uses a slightly different Chinese character from mine). His administration, preceded by 12 years of Lee Seung-Man's authoritarian regime and followed by 18 years of Park Jung-Hee's more authoritarian regime, lasted merely two years. I'm still unclear as to what part of Yoon's character had inspired my grandfather to name me after him. First of all, it's a boy's name. History sees Yoon as a mere figurehead, which largely explains why most of my Korean colleagues never recognize my name as anything but unfamiliar and unique. Of course, I try to remember Yoon as someone more significant. He is the founder of ROK's Democratic Party. His anti-authoritarian, pro-democratic views during the early years of ROK's establishment as a country made him the maverick in the political arena of the time and a hero of university students. I don't recall being rebellious as an infant, though... Nationality: Republic of Korea. One day, my dad obtained a research opportunity in the States, and said he's going to take mom with him. So my (two older) siblings and I followed. Education: I attended a high school for which our own very WAISer Siegfried Ramler was (still is?) a member of the school's Board of Trustees. (Such a small world!) I majored in history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, thinking that I'd be a history teacher, then dismissed the idea one semester before graduation upon the happy discovery of exciting graduate programs. Prior to transitioning to Nashville for a M.Ed. in International Education Policy and Management at Vanderbilt University Peabody College, I spent a semester at Keio University in Tokyo learning Japanese. Wouldn't mind doing that again. Professional Experience: Throughout my undergraduate years, I worked at preschools as a student assistant. While at Vanderbilt, I worked extensively with international students (especially those from Saudi Arabia) as an Academic Advisor/Program Coordinator at the Vanderbilt University English Language Center and as a Research Consultant to the Tennessee Department of Education. An internship opportunity in the summer of 2008 turned into an off-site consultancy, then into the current full-time employment at the Academy for Educational Development (AED) DC Headquarters. I also enjoy independent education consulting on the side for a local education agency. Language Skills: Fluent Korean, fluent English, and intermediate Japanese Current Personal Activities: I want to develop some strategic plan in approaching policymakers in the State of Hawaii to adopt welcoming policies towards undocumented students. A coalition of people would be nice, but haven't gotten around the research and leadership component yet. An experienced lobbyist recommended I start off with a Facebook club, but I want to make sure I have something more substantial that good will. Anyone has or knows someone who has a solid background in this subject matter whom I can consult? Interests: Countless, but recently the Quran. I'm at an embryonic stage of learning about the text, mainly through research in my spare time. Not sure how that works with minimal knowledge of the Arabic language, but I'm fascinated by the different principles in and around the text. I'm also a fanatic advocate of early childhood education because I believe 1) it serves as a comprehensive solution to multiple social concerns and 2) has a promising potential to realize the greatest return to education amongst all sectors of formal academic education. To that end, I've just started looking into some literature around preschool education for Roma children. JE comments: A warm welcome to the kind, generous Bosun Jang. I'm very happy to have you aboard the Good Ship WAIS.