Meet Myojung Chung, USF’s Newest Professor Helping Develop Health Communication for the Master of Arts in Professional Communication
Professor Myojung Chung teaches courses in strategic communication and is helping to develop the health communication concentration in the master of arts in professional communication program at USF.
Professor Myojung Chung began this fall semester teaching both graduate and undergraduate courses at USF. She teaches courses in strategic communication and is helping to develop the health communication concentration in the master of arts in professional communication (MAPC) program. She has over nine years of experience in both the communication and journalism fields, which she credits to shaping how she designs and teaches her courses. I had the chance to sit down with Professor Chung to discuss her background and how her personal experiences influence her teaching style today.
Q: How did you become interested in communications and what is your academic background?
A: Well, my background is very interdisciplinary, I originally didn’t even study communications until my master’s degree. I studied anthropology as an undergraduate at the Seoul National University, then I received my master’s degree in East Asian studies at Harvard University, and then I got doctorate in communication studies from Syracuse University. While I seemed to be all over the place in my studies, I got into communications because everything that I had studied was truly all about communication and how different cultures and people communicated, as seen in both anthropology and East Asian studies. It was fascinating working as a journalist, but I felt I needed more academic knowledge in addition to the field experience. So, I decided to go back to school and earn my doctorate in communication studies.
Q: What work did you do before becoming a professor?
A: Straight out of college I worked for about six months as a program coordinator for UNESCO in Korea. Back then, I planned to go to graduate school for my master’s degree so I knew I only could work for about six months in between. I came back to work at the UN headquarters another couple of months after my masters, then I worked as a PR practitioner before moving to journalism. So not only academically am I everywhere, but career wise, as well.
Q: Do you find yourself applying any of the things you learned in your past work experiences when you teach?
A: I think all of my past experiences come together and connect to one another, so I always bring in my personal experiences when I teach. When I talk about communication within differing cultures, I bring in my own experience from working with different people and cultures at the UN headquarters. I often bring examples from my journalism experience in the newsroom and my experience with public relations when discussing the relationship or gap between the two, as they are not as opposite as people think. All those experiences are useful in terms of teaching, and I try to incorporate my real-life experiences when discussing topics in class.
Q: You are currently helping to develop the health communication concentration in the MAPC program at USF, could you explain what MAPC is?
A: MAPC stands for the master of arts in professional communication program, and it has only been available at USF for two years now. MAPC is a master’s program for students who have typically worked several years in the professional workforce and who want to go back to graduate school to learn more about communications. The program is comprised of three concentrations, which include strategic communication, technical communication and the newly added health communication.
Q: What do you enjoy most about teaching and being a professor?
A: You know what, I think I really enjoy teaching because of the students’ positive energy. I realized that even I feel exhausted or lack energy. Once I go into a classroom I get immediate energy from the students and I feel completely different. Teaching is also the best way to learn things. You really need to know the topic inside and out to teach it, and by teaching you have the real opportunity to research and learn things thoroughly. I just love the process of thoroughly researching the concepts or things I am teaching. I think those are my favorite things about being a professor.