Hello, I am Hee Jung Kim (call me Hee Jung) who is a first year Ph.D. student in mathematics education at University of Georgia.
I was born in Seoul, South Korea. When I was a middle school student I liked my mathematics teacher very much, and came to be interested in mathematics and have decided to be a wonderful mathematics teacher like her. However, I was very disappointed with mathematics teachers during the high school years because they just delivered mathematical knowledge to students and forced them to keep practicing problems like math-problem-solving-machines. In my opinion, secondary mathematics in my country was degraded as just a required subject for the national College Entrance Examination. Since then, I changed my goal of being a mathematics teacher to be a mathematics professor who can teach 'real' mathematics (not mathematics for examinations) at college. In retrospect, both 'good' and 'bad' mathematics teachers helped me set my life goal during my school years.
After getting a Bachelor' and Master's degree in mathematics in Korea, I got a Ph.D degree in mathematics at the Pennsylvania State University. My mathematics research area was 'contact geometry' which is a branch of differential geometry. Before coming UGA, I have taught a variety of undergraduate mathematics courses as a grauduate student at the Pennsylvania State University and a visiting assistant professor at the University of Toledo and Bowling Green State University in Ohio. The more I have teaching experiences, the much more I became interested in teaching and learning mathematics than mathematics itself. I always did my very best and spent a lot of time for teaching, but I encountered my limitations in better teaching and understanding students' learning with only mathematics background. Hence I pursuedand got a master's degree in Education at Bowling Green State University which does not have a master's degree in mathematics eduation. After graduation, I found that my research interest have changed over years. I wanted to research mathematics education, but could not do it because I was not trained as mathematics educators in mathematics education field. In fact, the research methods between mathematics and mathematics education are completely different. I needed to follow a regular track to be a mathematics educator. That is why I am here! After graduation, I hope that I, titled as a mathematics educator, can research mathematics education and teach the future mathematics teachers who are responsible for our children's future.