An Interview with EAS PhD Alum Merose Hwang

Merose Hwang, PhD (2009)

Merose Hwang graduated from EAS’s PhD program in 2009 and is assistant professor of history at Hiram College. She (virtually) sat down with PhD student Derek Kramer to reflect on her doctoral program.  merose

Tell us about what keeps you busy these days?
We purchased a century house last year so, these days, there’s always something that needs doing.

What initially led you to study at the U of T?
Andre Schmid – need I say more? In all seriousness, U of T’s EAS program was not as famous back then as it is now. In fact, Canada was not on my radar until I met their alums during my M.A. studies at Yonsei University.

Based off of your experience, how have you seen EAS at the U of T change over the years? I’ve always known it to generate the most cutting-edge scholarly discussions but in terms of faculty collegiality, it sounds especially welcoming and mutually supportive these days.

Is there any dissonance the exists between the training you received in the department and work you currently do?
Civic responsibility and service – U of T did not train me on how to teach to these goals. Although these are top-down initiatives, I have adopted them and find them increasingly meaningful and rewarding to me as an educator.

Do you have any advice for current doctoral students concerning the transition from student to professional academic?
Pursue R1 schools if you want to be famous! For others, maybe you want to think about small liberal arts schools? This market is big, jobs are plentiful, and they take work-life balance seriously.

What do you miss the most and the least about living in Toronto?
I miss my Korean colleagues and Korea-town the most. As a pedestrian, I miss the winter road gravy the least. Away from the Big Smoke, snow is white and breathtakingly beautiful!