Dr. Jewon Woo, associate professor of English, was selected as one of the 26 national inaugural scholars for the Mellon/ACLS Community College Fellowship. Led by the American Counsel of Learned Societies (ACLS), the fellowship supports research projects from humanities and social science faculty who teach at two-year colleges. The scholars who conduct research on a wide range of topics, bring their findings back to their classrooms and communities. The foundation provides money to foster their studies, and in the process build up community with the fellowship.
In her proposal, titled From Archival Absence to Digital Presence: (Dis)Covering the 19th-Century Black Press in Ohio, Dr. Woo’s project, “investigates the 19th-century Black Press in Ohio through archival and Digital Humanities tools to illuminate its distinctively collaborative editorship.” Dr. Woo went on to add that “by filling the gap in the digitization of historic periodicals by curating the under-studied press and also reconsider the place of Black periodicals in literary study to display the hybridity and dynamics of African American’s communal life in 19th-century Ohio.” Finally, she adds, “This study can bring the almost forgotten historic texts to light through the humanistic use of digital technology so that we can learn the complexity of early African American’s communal life.”
Dr. Woo had applied for the fellowship last September and was notified of her selection back at the end of March. When looking back to when she was notified of her selection, Dr. Woo recalls, “shaking and couldn’t believe it at all, and didn’t expect to get it at all.”
President, Dr. Marcia Ballinger, Ph.D was the one who proudly gave Dr. Woo the news of her selection, saying, “We are so proud of [her] for this tremendous distinction and honor. [She] makes us LCCC Proud!”
Dr. Woo mentioned the recognition of the scholars was very important, especially with the fact all were among community colleges. She mentioned that the dedication is overlooked because some belittle community colleges, but is happy community colleges have been recognized.
For being selected among 26 scholars, Dr. Woo will receive a $40,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Dr. Woo plans to use the money for more research to develop “a webpage as an open source for the learning public black newspapers published in Ohio by utilizing a set of techniques for text analysts and data visualization.” She also plans to visit communities such as Pittsburg, Columbus, College Park, Cincinnati, and Worcester for more research on black print culture. Dr. Woo also plans to publish an article based on her research, aiming at analysts of African American life.
Dr. Woo was born in South Korea. She was an undergraduate in Korean literature. She loved to write and read, and by chance got to study American literature. “I enjoyed studying as an outsider,” said Dr. Woo. This passion for reading literature led her to reading African American history and literature, saying she was “enchanted” by them.”
Dr. Woo earned her first master’s degree in Comparative Literature at the Seoul National University in South Korea. Through an exchange program she had an opportunity to study for her second MA in English at the University of Northern Iowa, and eventually earned her Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota by focusing on American Literature and African Diaspora.