Student Stories

PhD Student, Rev. Heesung Hwang, Selected as Postdoctoral Fellow of the Louisville Institute

Heesung Hwang

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary is pleased to announce that doctor of philosophy student, Rev. Heesung Hwang, has been selected as a Postdoctoral Fellow of the Louisville Institute. Hwang will receive her doctor of philosophy in Christian education and congregational studies from Garrett-Evangelical on May 17, 2019, at the seminary’s 162nd Commencement.

“My doctoral work here at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary was certainly a transformative process molding me as a scholar, clergyperson, and activist. Who knew this lengthy and exhausting process would reestablish my ontological vocation and confirm my possibilities?” said Hwang. “I would like to give special thanks to my academic advisor, Rev. Dr. Virginia Lee, and the research committee, Rev. Dr. Jack L. Seymour, Rev. Dr. Margaret Ann Crain, and Rev. Dr. Mai-Anh Le Tran. Without their guidance, I would not be who I am now.”

The Louisville Institute’s Postdoctoral Fellowship provides fellowships to support a two-year, visiting professorship teaching in a North American theological school, college, or a university setting. Through the fellowship’s funding, Hwang will serve as visiting professor of religious education at Chicago Theological Seminary, beginning August 1, 2019, and will teach both online and face-to-face courses. In addition, as part of the Institute’s Vocation of the Theological Educator Initiative, Hwang will be accompanied by an academic mentor and pastoral mentor. Fellows also constitute a peer cohort that meets six times over two years.

“I am delighted that Heesung received the Louisville Postdoctoral Fellowship. She is a very worthy and qualified recipient, and I am very proud of her accomplishments,” said Rev. Dr. Virginia Lee, associate professor of Christian education at Garrett-Evangelical. “She was a teaching assistant in several of my classes, and after observing her in the classroom on a weekly basis and from reading student evaluations from several of my classes, I know that she is an excellent teacher, compassionate listener, wise counsel, and an organized and efficient administrator. All of these skills and competencies will serve her well as a theological educator.”

Hwang has a master of divinity degree from Wesley Theological Seminary, and a master of theology in Christian education and bachelor of arts in theology from Methodist Theological University in Seoul, South Korea. Before joining the doctoral program at Garrett-Evangelical, Hwang has spent a significant amount of her religious educational career engaging in Korean American congregations as a children’s pastor and an ordained deacon in The United Methodist Church. Hwang’s research interests include: Christian education, developmental theories, identity formation, congregational studies, critical pedagogy, critical race theory, and postcolonial feminist theology. She has published various articles on Asian American studies, Christian education, and leadership development. Hwang will also be presented with an award for her outstanding academic achievements during Garrett-Evangelical’s Honors Chapel on May 8, 2019.

Louisville Institute is funded by the Religion Division of Lilly Endowment Inc. and based at Louisville Presbyterian Seminary (Louisville, Kentucky). The Institute’s fundamental mission is to enrich the religious life of North American Christians and to encourage the revitalization of their institutions, by bringing together those who lead religious institutions with those who study them, so that the work of each might inform and strengthen the other.

For a full list of the 2019-21 Louisville Institute Postdoctoral Fellowships, visit: www.louisville- institute.org/awards/postdoctoral-fellowship/.