Reflecting on her time at Knox College, graduating senior Leslie Kang
remembers how she once was a "very quiet, shy, first-year student."
"Knox has really taught me to be a leader and have confidence in myself," said Kang, an educational studies major from Northbrook, Illinois.
"I feel like over the last four years at Knox, I've probably grown more as a person than I have, ever," she added. "I've met people who pushed me to go further, whether it be professors or older Knox students."
One of Kang's Pi Beta Phi sisters, for example, urged her to seek leadership positions in the sorority. Eventually, Kang became chapter president.
"It helped me learn a lot about interaction with other people," said Kang, who also has volunteered with the Boys & Girls Club and other organizations. "It helped me learn a lot about being a leader. It really helped me build confidence in myself to have sisters who believed in me and who trusted me."
She is certain that such experiences helped her get chosen recently for a prestigious Fulbright Fellowship, which enables recipients to study, conduct research, and teach English in other countries.
Kang, a member of the Knox Korean Club, will teach English in South Korea and volunteer at an orphanage there. In addition, she is interested in researching the role of education in Asian society so she can apply that knowledge when she returns to teach in the United States.
"I feel that oftentimes the Asian-American students are overlooked because they get good grades, but psychologically or emotionally, there is a lot of stress on them that is not often brought to light," she said.
A dance minor, Kang hopes to use that background to develop classroom activities that will mesh with students' varied learning styles. "Not everyone is a read-and-learn person," she said.
Through her experiences as a student teacher in Galesburg schools, Kang said, she discovered that she is a teacher who is "meant to serve the students."
"The kind of growth I've made personally relates a lot to Knox -- through the activities I did, the positions I had, and academics," she added. "I'm really thankful."