This month’s Speak! Story is about a student who had to meet a challenge head on. Dr. Youngchul Kim has been an assistant professor of Biostatistics in the Department of Public Health Sciences at UVA for the past six years. Although he has worked very hard to learn all there is to know about his new field of medicine, the medical language still proves difficult. He rarely found the time to speak with his colleagues during his immersion in statistical math. He was often nervous when he met new people and shy to speak with them because he was so unsure of being understood. As a result, Dr. Kim came to us with a specific mission, to prepare a presentation on his research for Tampa Florida’s cancer center.
Dr. Kim recalled his predicament recently, “I mispronounced words often, my pronunciation was wrong. Now I have much more confidence when speaking to my division members.” Dr Kim committed to 38 class hours to prepare him for his presentation in terms of body language, cultural aspects of his audience and asking and answering questions. We worked on correcting his intonation as he reported each slide of his presentation and reviewed his choice of words carefully so that the audience could truly understand and respect his detailed research. I was pleasantly surprised when he was awarded a new position at the cancer center in Tampa where he will be moving in the near future.
In addition to reaching his goal in presenting his research, his director at UVA also noticed a change in Dr. Kim. “My boss came to my office and said that he hadn’t expected such a good presentation at our last division meeting. I noticed my colleagues now sat up to listen to me speak, and asked many questions about my presentation after I finished,” stated Dr. Kim. His confidence has improved significantly, and for this, we are both proud.
ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR:
Having grown up overseas as a child, Megan is a “third-culture kid.” She has lived in Honduras, Sweden, Malaysia, India, Australia, Germany and most recently South Korea where she met and married her husband. An environmentalist, Megan studied biology and she incorporates her love of nature in her English language teaching, as well as weaving in themes of travel and intercultural communication. Since obtaining her MATESOL, she has been an ESL teacher at Seoul National University and in the culturally diverse community colleges of Seattle, Washington. Having recently moved to Charlottesville, Megan is celebrating her 10th year teaching ESL and is relishing in reuniting with her family who live locally.