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Garrett-Evangelical PhD Student, Sun-Ah Kang, Receives Scholarship from Women of Color Scholars Program

October 31, 2018
Sun-Ah Kang

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary doctor of philosophy student, Sun-Ah Kang, was awarded a Women of Color Scholars Program scholarship. Kang’s doctoral concentration is in biblical studies and she is in the process of writing her dissertation titled, “A cross-cultural reading of the ’ēšet hayil (Prov. 31:10-31) alongside Naehun in the context of Korean-Confucianism.”

Started in 1988 through The United Methodist Church’s General Board of Higher Education in Ministry Office of Loans and Scholarships, the Women of Color Scholars Program provides financial, intellectual and personal support to United Methodist women of color pursuing doctorates in religious studies at seminaries and universities across the U.S. With a four-year commitment from The United Methodist Church (UMC) and the religious scholars who serve as mentors, the primary goal of the program is to increase the number of women of color on faculty at United Methodist seminaries. Two current Garrett-Evangelical faculty members, Dr. Wonhee Anne Joh and Rev. Dr. Cheryl Anderson, as well as numerous Garrett-Evangelical alumnae, are graduates of the Women of Color Scholars Program.

“Connecting the Hebrew Bible with her home culture, Sun-Ah is doing very exciting intercultural work on the portrait of the ideal wife in Proverbs 31. She does our PhD program proud,” said Dr. Charles Cosgrove, director of the PhD program and professor of early Christian literature at Garrett-Evangelical.

Growing up in the church as a pastor’s daughter, Kang saw that churches needed more resources for theological reflection. After seeing the discrimination many people faced on the basis of sex, gender, race, ethnicity, class, age, etc., she also knew that theology needed to take into account those lived realities. This realization gave Kang a strong sense of calling to ministry and the academy and led her to pursue ordination as an elder in the United Methodist Church (UMC) as well as a PhD. In July 2018, Kang was appointed as a local pastor to a three-point charge in Chadwick, Illinois, where she is able to provide theological resources from her doctoral work to her churches as well as remind the academy of the flesh and blood persons who are the audience of its theology.

Kang has a bachelor of divinity from Tokyo Union Theological Seminary, a master of divinity from Methodist Theological University, and a master of theological studies from Southern Methodist University. She is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature and the Chicago Society of Biblical Research. Her most recent publication is a chapter in the forthcoming book, Landscapes of Korean and Korean American Biblical Interpretations, called, “Re-reading of ‘a virtuous woman (חַיִל אֵשֶׁת)’ in Proverbs 31:10-31 through Michel Foucault in the Context of Korean Confucianism.”