Student Spotlight: Young Jung Defends her Dissertation

Student Spotlight: Young Jung Defends her Dissertation

Young Jung has defended her dissertation entitled "Emplacing Parenting: Migration and Belonging among Korean Gireogi Families" and worked with Debra Lattanzi Shutika, David Haines, Dae Young Kim. Here is a short interview with Young in which she reflects on her time here at Mason.  CONGRATULATIONS YOUNG!!!!

How have your research interests changed from the time you began the PhD program to now, and in which direction do you envision your work moving upon graduating?

"Since my previous major was Korean literature, I started taking literature courses in the beginning of the program. Dr. Amireh’s postcolonial literature course and Dr. Chang’s Asian American literature course were insightful. However, I could not connect my interests in East Asia to these literature courses. Dr. Shutika’s migration studies course and sense of place course opened a new path; I came to change my previous conceptions of the texts into more contextualized social contexts. Once I got into migration studies, particularly transnational studies, I thought that researching Asian Marriage Migration would be fascinating in terms of a new conception building on gender, nation, and class in East Asia. While taking migration studies courses like Dr. Shutika’s courses, Dr. Haines’ course, and Dr. Kim’s course, I came to realize that studying transnational migration requires a considerable amount of time. Doing field work in East Asia including several countries seemed to take at least three years. At that time, Korean gireogi families emerged as an accessible research topic. However, unlike my original assumption that doing field work at Korean gireogi families’ community will not take tremendous time, I spent more than two years in doing field work and interviewing. This time of field work was the most memorable during the dissertation phase as I felt like I was a diligent spider weaving around people’s real voices and writing an ethnography. I envision my career path as a migration scholar who can expand migration studies’ methodologies and topics with interdisciplinary and comparative approaches."  


What kinds of professional development did you pursue while a student and which do you think will best position you to get the job you want: publishing, presenting, teaching, service in the department, engagement in non-university service projects, acquiring particular research skills?

"Even though I have worked as a Korean instructor using my previous careers, I think the best way to prepare for future academic jobs is training yourself as a professional researcher.  Acquiring particular research skills can become the best resources for a scholar."


What is one of your best memories from your time in the PhD program in Cultural Studies? 

"Several memories keep arising: our cohort gatherings in D.C., Paul’s welcoming party, and the very first class, The History of Cultural Studies, that our cohort took altogether. The best memorable time might be the semester when I took Dr. Shutika’s immigration course with Lia and Lisa."