20 Questions: A sketch of Centre education professor Penelope Wong

RELEASED: Jan. 25, 2007

DANVILLE, KY—1. Position: Assistant Professor of Education.

2. Hometown: Potomac, Maryland.

3. Career Highlight: This is hard to answer because there have been a lot of really satisfying moments in my career as an educator. However, I have to say the most outstanding highlight is when students will return, sometimes years later, to visit and tell me about or thank me for the difference I made in their lives. 

4. Signature Course: A multicultural education course—Power, Privilege and Identity.

5. Recent Publication: "The Promise of Second Language Learners Unleashed Through Service-Learning" in Oklahoma Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development Journal, Spring 2006.

6. Family: My immediate human family—parents and my brother's family—are in Arizona. My immediate non-human family consists of two cats and a horse.

7. Hobbies: Horseback riding, traveling, yoga, reading and outdoor pursuits (i.e., hiking and kayaking).

8. Pets: See above—I would have to say my cats would say I'm their pet!

9. Prized possession: I don't really have a prized possession in the conventional sense. I would consider my prized possessions to be the once-in-a-lifetime memories and experiences I've had traveling throughout the world.

10. Favorite book:The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer.

11. Memorable trip/vacation: My two-year "trip" to the United Arab Emirates.

12. Favorite movie: Currently my favorite movie is Hidalgo. It centers on a 3,000-mile endurance race, the Ocean of Fire, across the Arabian Desert and involves two cultures I greatly admire—the Bedouin and Native American cultures.

13. Favorite album: Shepherd Moons by Enya.

14. Favorite food: This is really hard! I can’t think of a kind of cuisine I don't like. I will say, however, that I have a special fondness for sushi.

15. Favorite Smells: Freshly cut hay, the Grand Canyon/Colorado River after a summer monsoon and horses.

16. Person you most admire: This is a difficult one because there isn't really one person I most admire. There are the famous individuals who I admire for very specific reasons—Mahatma Gandhi for his philosophy of non-violence, Mother Theresa for her selflessness and service to humankind. However, I'm fortunate to know some non-famous, ordinary individuals (too many to name) who I admire greatly for the extraordinary manner in which they lead their daily lives and treat others.

17. Living figure you'd most like to meet: Noam Chomsky—an educator, political pundit and linguist at MIT. He's a prolific author who is probably most widely known for his language theories that revolutionized the field of linguistics. However, in the last two decades, it has been his political views and writings that have made him well known—they push the boundaries of comfort and really make one think!

18. Historical figure you'd most like to meet: Siddhartha Gautama of the Sakya (aka the Buddha).

19. What would you be doing if you weren't working at Centre? If the question concerns where I would be—that's easy—I'd be some where in the world teaching…Alaska is a place I've yet to explore! If the question is what would I be doing if I weren't an educator—I really don't know! I couldn't imagine doing anything else with my life except being an educator!

20. Describe yourself in three words: Living life fully.




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