Juensung Kim

June 1, 2021
Juensung Kim
Program: Doctor of Philosophy in Developmental Psychology and Education (DPE)
Expected year of graduation: 2022

What led you to apply to APHD at OISE?
I did my undergrad at UofT in cognitive science and philosophy, particularly classical Greek and Chinese philosophy, and by sheer happenstance took a course with Michel Ferrari on world wisdom traditions. When it came to my last year before graduating, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, but I'd really enjoyed that class and the opportunity to combine the different parts of my skillset. So I managed to drop by one of the Ferrari Lab's meetings one day and asked if he was taking students.

What was your past work experience like?
I'm someone who came here directly after my undergrad, so most of my work experience is in a university context. I've been a lab manager and a teaching assistant for undergraduate courses in cognitive science for a few years, and just taught my first course solo this past fall.

Are there any past accomplishments that you would like to highlight?
I'm not really one for big milestones. I did recently get a paper published on the psychological theory behind a Chinese divination text known as the I Ching; took us two years. That felt pretty good.

What is one thing you like most about your experience so far at OISE?
I like the flexibility to be involved in a lot of different things, especially with an academic advisor who really encourages getting a range of experiences out of your time in graduate school. I'm affiliated with the Cognitive Science program at University College as a teaching assistant, the Buddhism, Psychology, and Mental Health program at New College as a teaching assistant and instructor, and the Multi-Faith Centre as a facilitator and former research fellow. I probably couldn't get away with that in a more restrictive program, or one that didn't value contributions to teaching or student experience as much as OISE.

What is your favourite thing about Toronto?
Well, I was born here. Hometown nostalgia definitely has something to do with it. But comparing Toronto to other places I've been, you can find anything here. I've sat with Buddhist monks, taken classes in witchcraft, seen Sufis dance, eaten food from three different continents in one day, taken a waltz seminar, taught an introduction to medieval wrestling, and watched experimental opera. And that was one week last year.

What does your “weekend” typically look like?
What weekend? Obligatory graduate student joke out of the way, it varies. Literal weekends are when Toronto's various spiritual communities are most active, which means I'm pretty busy. Most often these days I'll drop by a Sufi sohbet or Unitarian Universalist service. On my actual time off, I like going for hikes or watching cooking videos on YouTube.

What are some of your hobbies & interests?
As might be guessed from the last two questions, I'm a person of pretty eclectic interests. I've been in martial arts of one sort or another for about 18 years; these days, mostly historical fencing, but I also teach a Tai Chi class through the UofT Mindful Moments program. Migrating these things online has been a challenge, but I think we've mostly figured it out. Cooking is a joy, and I used to take the occasional waltz class; I look forward to doing so again. I also like calligraphy, and play the folk harp.

What is your favorite type of cuisine?
The biggest problem with growing up in the most multicultural city on the planet is trying to answer this question. I like food from almost everywhere. Korean food is comfort food, of course, but I also really like Thai food. I grew up with a pastry chef in the family, though, so mostly, the best part of food is the adventure.

Where do you see yourself after you achieve your degree from APHD?
Ask me at three different times of the year, get three different answers. I try not to pigeonhole myself. I love research, so of course I'd love to find a postdoc position. But I've also loved the work I've done in student life, and part of me feels called to seminary, especially after the last year. Ideally though, I think I'd like to find a teaching stream position. I love teaching; it's probably my favourite part of the job.

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