- Excellence in Teaching Assistance Award (2009-10)
At present, Ms. Kong is a teaching assistant for “Media and Society”, a second-year Cultural Studies course. Last year, she was a teaching assistant at the Trent in Oshawa campus for “Introduction to Modern Culture”, a first-year Cultural Studies course taught by Prof. Mark Cote. When asked for his reflections on this award recognition, Prof. Cote said: "Yani is an exemplary T.A. who really brings the tutorial system to life. Not only does she excel in cultivating a Socratic dialogue, she is extraordinarily generous with her time helping students to attain their potential. The excellent work of graduate students like Yani is a positive reminder that the pursuit of scholarship includes all members of the Trent community."
The student nominators speak of their "enhanced learning experience" and Ms. Kong’s "willingness to go beyond what is required of her" so that her students will succeed in her courses. “Yani pushes students to not just work toward a mark, but to work toward bettering our knowledge of all the course themes which we are presented,” explains one of her nominators. Her influence and support is also felt by a graduate student colleague whose teaching experience was enriched by Yani, who was "a much needed pillar of support".
“I am very excited and honoured to receive this award,” Ms. Kong said. “I take my work as a T.A. very seriously, and try to impart my passion for the study of culture to my students. I am amazed by my students every class. I am so impressed by their sensitive understanding of their subject and the world around them. I sincerely thank the students of my seminar for this amazing recognition.”
In September 2008, Ms. Yani Kong became a M.A. student in the Theory, Culture and Politics graduate program. Her master’s research focuses on historical visual cues, specifically looking at early photography practices in the late nineteenth century. Her thesis compiles research on the practice of spirit photography among Spiritualist sects in Boston and New York in the late 1800's, reading this obscure use of the camera to capture purportedly departed spirits on film, as a form of cultural re-enchantment. This work is influenced by the theoretical writings of Max Weber and the Frankfurt School. Ms. Kong is looking to defend her thesis in August.
Yani completed her undergraduate degree in Art and Culture Studies at Simon Fraser University.