Campus Celebrity: Professor Jiwon Yoon



Name: Jiwon Yoon

Profession: Assistant Professor

Hometown: Seoul, South Korea

Hobbbies/Interest: Cycling, Reading, Going to the Theater, Playing the Piano



Why did you choose your major?

When I was a child I thought I would become a pianist. One thing lead to another and I had to discontinue my lessons. Ever since then I wanted to do something related to media. I wanted to be a journalist, then I wanted to become a producer, then I wanted to become a documentary film maker. All of my dreams were related to media so that's why I slected my major in Mass Communication and Media. Then I was exposed to North Korean refugees in China by doing volunteer work. I was doing education services where I taught English to Korean Chinese.Then I learned more about North Korean refugee's situation from them and that's where I learned that media functions as a window to understand the world. So I decided to further study how people can better understand the world through Media Literacy education. 

Why did you choose to come to Roosevelt?

Roosevelt is a very unique university. I have been to big universities. The college I went to for my undergrad was a big liberal arts college like Roosevelt University. I really appreciated the learning experience and the relationships I have with my professors and class sizes were reasonable and I enjoyed learning. When I was doing my Masters at NYU and Ph.D at Temple University my experience as a graduate student was really amazing working closely with those professors but in terms of how undergrad students were learning in their classes or outside the class I thought that the liberal arts college would work better for me in terms of my teaching style the types of relationships I want to have with my students. When you select a job you look at other things like [Roosevelt's] mission, and the work they do with social justice really inspired me. Even the interview process here was totally different; the way they treated me and the fact it's in Chicago, I also needed to think about my husband's possible job opprotunity as well. So [Roosevelt] was the perfect place. Also the people here are really nice. I really mean it.

What is your favorite thing about Roosevelt?

My favorite thing about Roosevelt is the students. I have taught in other places but the students here are different and I can see that everybody is not the same. Many students really care about their learning. They don't come here just for the degree. They are really conscious about what it going on in the world and they are eager to learn. They are really humble and respectful and appreciative of diversity and different perspectives. This is very rare in that age. 

Social Causes

Are you a feminist?

Anyone who cares about social justice and anyone who care about pain in the world should be a feminist. I know feminist have certain images, like being radical, but everybody needs to become feminist. I know we have come far but at the same time there is so much that we need to accomplish. America is one of the most powerful countries in the world but look at the way women are treated in the work place. It is a shame that most work places don't offer full paid maternity leave or allow women to advance to the positions they deserve. I think feminist is not just about women's rights. It applies to different races and sexual orientions. I think the feminist scholarship provided alot of great perspectives that helped people to understand why we are having so much discrimination in the world and how we can make it better. I am a feminist because I care about injustice and I think we can do and should do a lot better than this. The feminist scholarship itself has helped a scholar like me to better undestand what is going on in the world.

What social causes matter to you the most?

I see the world like a puzzle. There are so many issues going on in the world and of course as human being who can only do one thing at a time in my position, where I am, in what I do, I deeply care about education desparity. and inequality. Not only in higher education but also in K-12th (elementary -high school). I think it's a shame that in such a developed country like the U.S teachers are not well respected especially in public schools in big cities and the way schools are funded through property taxes which increases the disparity between rich neihborhoods and underprivleged meighborhoods. I think it's deeply problematic. Everybody deserves the best quality education. One boy was killed on the way going to school. I think it was an African American boy. The media has been so disrespectful (reads article) 'It doesn't appear it was gang related'. Would you as that is the 16 year old boy that was shot on the way to school was a White boy? No. So the fact that our children don't have the same opprotunities in their lives really frustrates me. 

Can you vote?

I will be sent away to my country if I vote. I have a green card so that means I have permenant residency but it is not citizenship. I can apply for citzenship after 5 years of having the green card. Then you take the test and have an interview but that is a very serious offense. 

What causes are important to you in the upcoming Election?

I think the candidate should care for justice and not his interest or her interest. Because politicans get funded by different interest groups and one of the reasons I think Bernie Sanders is very unique and many people have hope in him is because he isn't getting all those sponsorhsips from Wallstreet or banks or interest groups. It's like the media; when you have your sponors and they don't want you to talk about certain things. So if they end those sponsorships it will influence your budget. I think politicians are the same and we need someone who can work for people not for those interest group. We need someone who has apathy, not hose who don't understand the life of a young adult for instance, who has a huge debt or loans just to get a degree or parents who can barely make ends meet and barely have enough time to help their children with homework. We need someone who can understand what Americans go through in their day to day lives. The politicians are important. They can make the systematic changes. I can do that. I can educate people and work with students so that they do well in their lives. But politicians can make the structual changes so that if you work hard you can have a better future. I don't think we have that. Many hard working students don't get the job they deserves. We need someone who understand what those people go through. 


How would you describe your personal style?

(Laughes) My personal style? I don't know. Are you talking about appearance? I was never asked and I never thought about that. I don't know how to answer. I don't enjoy shopping. Maybe I'll shop twice a year when there is a big sale. Shopping makes me tired. I rather grocery shop than clothes shop. I can spend all day in the book store. I can spend all day in the mall but not more than 3 times a year. That is my maximum. I think it's important to present yourself nicely. As long as I wear clean clothes I am not too conerned about this. Often times because I am Asian and I am female many people who are not from where I'm from they think I'm younger than I actually am. I have a lot of grey hairs and I don't dye my hair so that I can look more mature. But I don't want to dress like a grandma. I try to look mature so that students can see that I respect my work environment. I want others to not see me as younger. I still get people asking me if I have exams during exam week and wishing me good luck in the elevator. Thanks but I'll be just procturing. It's not like I need to take the test. 

What's your favorite store/brand?

I don't have a favorite store or brand. As long as I can find something. I don't like high end designer products because I don't want to be definded by labels. I don't want to be seen or associated with those high end designers. When the product has their design or logo printed all over it I feel like that makes people defind me with those brands. I don't like to spend a lot of money on clothes. There are certain things I will spend money on but in terms of clothes I don't want to spend too much because it's not my priority. Even if someone gave me designer things I wouldn't wear it. 

What's your favorite item in your closet?

(Takes moment to think.) I have a lot of socks. I have comfy socks. Socks you were in winter. I have different colors. It's not my favorite but one of my stressing in the morning is what should I wear. Not that I have a lot of clothes but sometimes I wish that someone would tell me what to wear. So the only item I probably don't have that issue with is socks. I have many different styles and colors of socks. It's one of the last steps in getting dressed and it's kind of the easiest part of getting ready for work.

What do you think makes you a campus celebritty?

I don't think I am a campus celebrity. But I really care for my students and I try to connect myself with my work. Not only on campus but also outside the classroom. So that's why I work with teachers so that our students can apply what they have learned and teach young kids [in her Media Literacy class]. And that is why I require students to upload their work on youtube [in her Intro to Production class] because I want them to have a wider audiance. I try to make myself accessible. So the students know that even though it is not her office hours I can still talk to her. But I think most professors do this. All the professors I have worked with here really care for student's success. So I don't think that makes me special here. I am just one of many.