Dr. Juyeon Kang
Northwestern welcomes Dr. Juyeon Kang to its music faculty this year as a new assistant professor of music. She is teaching both the various music theory labs, as well as piano class and lessons.
Kang, who is originally from South Korea, began her piano studies at the age of four because her mother needed to find a new accompanist for their church. Her family quickly realized, however, that she had a talent for piano that went beyond just accompanying hymns. After many years of lessons, she was sent to live with her aunt in Seoul in order to attend the Seoul Art High School.
After graduating from the University of Seoul, Kang moved to the U.S. In 1993 she studied at the Eastman Conservatory at Rochester, NY, where she finished her Masters and DMA. While studying for her Doctorate of Musical Arts, Kang changed her primary focus from teaching to performance. After graduating, Kang taught at a community school for music in the Boston area.
From Seoul to Rochester to Boston, Iowa is quite a change for Kang. “When I was [at NW] for the interview I was totally shocked…everything was so flat.“ Though the setting is new for Kang, she has come to love the community. “I thought it would be difficult living in a small town after coming from the cities. But it’s been fine. I’ve really enjoyed the kindness of people.”
Kang is enjoying her current focus on teaching: “Teaching is, for me, a way of serving and sharing.” Referring to the influence of a past teacher, Kang said, “My teacher never gave me the information directly…he always made us think. It made us independent. My teaching style reflects that style…I ask a lot of questions.” Through questions, Kang hopes to not only convey that, “[piano] music is more than touching keys,” but also to help students find their own personal connection between faith and music.
On Sunday, Oct. 26 at 3:00 p.m. Kang will be performing a combination of Rachmaninoff and Debussy pieces in Christ Chapel.
Ruth Grossmann is the new professor in the biology department. Through her new position, she hopes “to teach students the complexities and wonders within biology, and have them think ‘Wow! God’s pretty darn cool!’”
Grossmann attended Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Georgia and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology and a minor in chemistry. She went on to earn her masters degree in neuroscience at the University of Iowa in Iowa City.
Besides her enthusiasm for her spiritual life and biology, Grossmann believes she brings a special understanding of the local culture because she grew up here in Orange City. Now that she’s back in the area, she says her family is very glad to have her close to home.
Grossmann said she was initially drawn to Northwestern by the student-oriented attitudes of her colleagues. She also revealed that the faith on this campus was factor.
“I love biology and I love God so much. It’s a natural fit for me to be at a Christian college,” she explained.
Once she arrived on campus, Grossmann was impressed with the attitude her students had towards learning. “I love that in my first Human Anatomy and Physiology class everyone sat in the front row,” she commented.
“Since I started working, God was more than enough for me,” Grossmann said in reference to marriage. However, she said that God had other plans for her. “I found the man I’m going to marry,” she revealed. His name is Skip Pond and he currently lives in Chattanooga, TN.
In addition to spending time with Pond, Grossmann enjoys cooking, running, backpacking and reading poetry and theology.
But she says that she is most passionate about God. “I’m just overwhelmed with who He is,” Grossmann commented.