Remarks Given at West Chester University

figure 1: a professional headshot of Dr. Hyoejin Yoon. She is smiling and wearing a navy blue blazer and navy blue blouse with flowers. The out-of-focus background is sunlit trees and shrubs.

As Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, I had the honor of working with Dr. Katherine Hyoejin Yoon her for all of her 20+ years at West Chester, from her job interview with the English Department back in 2001 until her untimely death on December 16, 2022. She was 52. 

A specialist in rhetoric and composition, she received her Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Albany. She received both a BA and an MA in English from Virginia Polytechnic Institute, where she also earned a BS in Biology. She attended the HERS:  Women in Higher Education Leadership Institute in 2014 and held numerous positions at the university on her path to becoming Senior Associate Dean in 2016.

Her focus on both student and faculty research was evident from the beginning. A first-generation college student, she knew at a deep and personal level how imposter syndrome could creep in, and as an Asian woman, she knew what it felt like to have students with racial and gender biases question her expertise in the classroom. She never forgot those feelings, and it made her a fierce and passionate advocate for our most vulnerable faculty and students.

I really got to know Hyoejin when she moved to my neighborhood in Philadelphia and joined my carpool. We spent those long commutes talking about our teaching and our research, but also about our lives. We learned that Hyoejin was a cat lover (and then a dog lover); we learned that she was eager to find a partner to build a life, and a family, with. We learned about the ways her Korean heritage had shaped her, and we learned that she really wasn’t a morning person. 

Hyoejin helped launch our Equity Access Inclusion and Diversity Grants, she encouraged a group of amazing faculty members as they formed the Women of Color Faculty Resource Caucus, and she advocated for the resources to appoint a Faculty Associate for Equity Action in the college. I was delighted to learn that the university has named the HERS scholarship for women in leadership in her honor, so that future women leaders who participate in the institute will be part of her legacy. 

Hyoejin – we are still not ready to say goodbye to you. I am so grateful to have your insight, and your compassion, and your humor in my life. I miss you, friend. I know we all do. 


Remarks Given at the CCCC Asian/Asian American Caucus Meeting, February 2023

Thank you all for being here. I was originally just the chair of this panel, but I am now here today to pay tribute to the original respondent, K. Hyoejin Yoon, who sadly passed away late last year. She was a leader for us here at C’s via her work in the Asian/Asian American Caucus, in her writing that reveals our own history to us anew, and her relationships with so many here in this room and in our field, and in the legacy of her teaching and mentoring. 

figure 1: a close-up headshot of Hyoejin Yoon smiling and looking at the camera. She is wearing a black blouse and is in front of a quilt that is hanging on a wall.

Other people on this panel knew her better than I, and so I will focus my remarks today on the depth in her carefully layered work that is incredibly attentive to historical context and nuance. I also want to speak to the threads in her work that the members of this panel are taking up and developing in their own scholarship as we all strive toward a richer, healthier field and world. 

On a personal level, I first came to her work through her scholarship on the portrayal of Asian American women in the media. I felt a connection to her nuanced discussions of how Asian femininity in particular is specifically bracketed by expectations for model minority behavior in her chapter “Learning Asian American Affect” from the collection Representations: Doing Asian American Rhetoric.

In reading this work again, I am struck by her skillful deployment of affect theory in her analyses of cultural and pedagogical situations. Before the wave of scholarship focusing on affect, her work offered nuanced analyses of the emotion/affect distinction and how individual feelings were enmeshed in broader structures. For example, her pairing of “emotionologies” and Asian American identity offers a model for doing cultural rhetorical analysis of affect while also remaining grounded in pedagogical concerns. 

Her work, while boundary-pushing, is also purpose driven. Yoon’s article “Affecting the Transformative Intellectual: Questioning “Noble” Sentiments in Critical Pedagogy and Composition” offers a serious challenge to one of our field’s dominant emotional orientations. In this essay, she clearly and firmly demonstrates how the commitment to fostering critical thinking and intellectual transformation can inadvertently support, or at the very least sidestep questions about, embedded assumptions about student agency, whiteness, and responsibility. Through her careful examination of touchstone texts in critical pedagogy, she highlights how the goal of being a transformative teacher too often relies on affective assumptions that minimize student agency and maintain white supremacist ways of understanding the goals of composition. 

In addition to her critical yet caring eye for our field and pedagogical practices, Yoon also modeled how to write interdisciplinary work with sophistication. Her essay co-written with Cari Carpenter on the historical and rhetorical portrayals of Chinese immigrants and American Indians during the nineteenth century shows both the challenges and delights of doing cross-racial historiography and media analysis.

As I listened to the wonderful panelists today, I was struck by several moments that resonate with what feel like the motivations and aims of Yoon’s work. 

Sweta – In your descriptions of the Nepali work on responding to COVID-19, we see clearly how rhetoric from marginalized communities/knowledges does not mean small. Often, homespun bricolage is fetishized as the most recognizable form of grassroots rhetoric. In contrast, this study shows how Asian rhetorical work can be and is transnational in scope. It is dynamic, responsive, modeling genre awareness, and in some cases, literally life saving.

Bo Jimenez – I was just sitting in a panel on hopeful feminisms, and your work on the rapper/singer Ruby Ibarra exemplifies an affect-ful way to think about hopeful, Asian feminist resistance to colonizing instincts and attitudes. Resistance is never complete, as your point about the urge to represent Ibarra as just a female body makes clear. But nonetheless, Ibarra demonstrates how the affect of translingual craft can be sexy, playful, flippant, and complex simultaneously. 

Jennifer and Terese – Your work on the normalizing force of citation practices demonstrates the importance of Yoon’s engagement with affect and emotion. She lays bare the falsity of the “intellectual primitive” via her honest discussions of how race and power shape how Asian affect is perceived and also felt within the teaching body. On a personal note, even though I have read Yoon’s work before, I found a key concept that I am using in my other panel through my rereading of her work for this dedication. We all need to be shaken out of a colonial mindset sometimes.

Xiaobo – Grappling with the real affect of Asian and Asian American lives means sometimes there is no affective closure. But that means all the more we need stories that reject model minorities, robotic intellects, and exotic temptresses; we need stories that hold our rage and care in tandem.

It is impossible to fully encapsulate a life, so I will close with this brief consideration of Yoon’s own words. She states, “Our motives and reactions are riddles of displacements and substitutions, written like language, only accessible through its continual deferments” (692). These words, from her article “The ‘Good’ Teacher of Composition: Toward a Genealogy of Emotion,” urge all of us to reckon with the genealogies of emotion that shape not just our identity but what we valorize as best reading and writing practice. This piece gently but urgently encourages us to confront the spaces in our pedagogy that are indebted to guilt more than to social justice. As the above sentence demonstrates, Yoon does not make such recommendations flippantly. Rather, she models and performs the sort of deep emotional labor that is required to even begin to crack the seal on our disciplinary idols. Such work requires an immersive dive into a field’s histories and attachments, looking past easy interpretations and delving into the patterns of feeling that also bear ethical responsibilities. 

I am grateful to be a compositional ‘descendant’ of Yoon and will carry her words and insights with me. Thank you. 


Asian American Affect and Advocacy: Remembering Hyoejin Yoon

Hyoejin Yoon served as Co-Chair of the CCCC Asian/Asian American Caucus from 2012 to 2016. We both had the honor of co-chairing the caucus with Hyoejin—Terese from 2012–2015, and Jennifer from 2015–2016. She was a thoughtful leader, mentor, and scholar who was careful with her words yet not afraid to speak up about injustice. 

Hyoejin’s scholarship in the discipline is consistently boundary-pushing and purpose-driven. As described in Jennifer LeMesurier’s tribute to Hyoejin in this issue, Hyoejin’s work on affect—as is all of her work—is theoretically rigorous, contextualized historically, and grounded in the embodied experiences of Asian American women. We encourage Peitho readers to revisit this work, including “Affecting the Transformative Intellectual: Questioning ‘Noble’ Sentiments in Critical Pedagogy and Composition,” published in JAC, the Journal of Advanced Composition. Ilene Crawford’s response to this piece noted how Hyoejin made “an unabashed case for imagination” (235), urging that we consider how “institutional discourses, even radical ones, keep our work and our imaginations and other real possibilities bound” (Yoon “Affecting” 734). In another response, Catherine Fox noted how “Yoon asks us to question our investment in the ‘noble’ emotions deployed in the name of democracy and citizenship and how these tropes occlude the fraught nature of emotions and desires elicited by critical pedagogy discourse, particularly for those who find themselves on the outer edges of this discourse” (244).

Further pushing the contours of affect in the discipline, Hyoejin’s chapter published in LuMing Mao and Morris Young’s collection, Representations, titled “Learning Asian American Affect” articulates how the model minority trope is shaped in part by embodied performances of affect by Asian American subjects, and would likewise influence many in the affective turn in our discipline. Morris Young reflects on Hyoejin’s work and impact:  

I don’t recall exactly which year it was, but I first met Hyoejin at the CCCC Convention in the early 2000s. In those days, the Asian/Asian American Caucus was growing and reaching out to emerging scholars and teachers to provide a space to support their work. When I met Hyoejin at one of these caucus meetings, it was clear she was going to be an important voice and leader. I got to know her even better as I worked with her when she contributed an essay for the collection, Representations: Doing Asian American Rhetoric, that LuMing Mao and I were co-editing. Her essay, “Learning Asian American Affect,” was sophisticated, insightful, and beautifully written. There was little to edit but much to learn from this essay that offered an early articulation of the affective turn that we have seen in current scholarship in composition and rhetoric. Her scholarship was cutting edge, her leadership inspiring, and her generosity unmatched.

Morris Young
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Hyoejin was always looking for ways to push the discipline further. Her co-edited issue of College Literature on Native/Asian Encounters acknowledges settler colonialism while also looking to other frameworks for understanding that relationality. A consistent theme in her work is a move between media representations, theory, an unpacking of affect to reveal racist biases, and a method for mobilizing affect to radically change our pedagogical, scholarly, and institutional practices. In this collection of essays, Hyoejin and her co-editor, Cari Carpenter, consider “how the space that Chinese and American Indians shared on the newspaper page can be likened to their shared space in the American nineteenth century” (8). As with her work on affect, she leads the field in research related to Asian/Americans, especially how we are complexly positioned in relation to other marginalized groups in the U.S., in ways that continue to shape our experience but have been largely under examined.

figure 1: the cover of the book that Hyoejin Yoon co-edited with Jennifer Sano-Franchini, and Terese Guinsatao Monberg: Building a Community, Having a Home: A History of the Conference on College Composition and Communication Asian/Asian American Caucus. The top half of the image is white with the title of the book written in black font, and the lower half is a hazy mountain skyline and the roof and upper part of a house with palm trees in front. The bottom of the image is a solid green block with the editors’ names in white font.

We later worked together with Hyoejin on a project documenting a history of our caucus, leading to an edited collection titled Building a Community, Having a Home: A History of the Conference on College Composition and Communication Asian/Asian American Caucus. Hyoejin was an essential part of this project, particularly in how we intentionally brought emerging scholars into the collection and into the caucus. Hyoejin took the lead on this part of the project as she supported the scholars from a conference roundtable through the publication process, always responding to their work with generosity, empathy, and care. This work is reflected in Hyoejin’s forewords to essays in the collection by Phuong Tran and by Scott Ka‘alele, Edward Lee, and Michael Pak. Hyoejin was committed to mentoring emerging scholars, scholars of color, and especially women of color. 

We also worked together to co-author an article for Reflections focusing on anti-Asian racism “before, during, and after the COVID-19 pandemic.” As we worked on this piece, we’ll always remember how much it meant for the three of us to be together on a video call following tragic events affecting the Asian American community. We also remember how enthusiastic we all were that she could bring her background in biology to our discussion of pandemic rhetorics of virality and infection. As a Senior Associate Dean at West Chester University, she brought an important perspective about how university leadership positions don’t necessarily protect Asian/Asian American women from anti-Asian racism. We both benefited from the chance to work together with her on this piece that allowed us to process our own experiences in the discipline and in current society collectively and think about ways to shift institutional practices. We could not have written this piece or the work that will continue to follow without her. 

Hyoejin was passionate in her advocacy of others. The February 4th memorial service that West Chester University held for her included colleagues, family members, and lifelong friends who all spoke about Hyoejin’s impact, tireless advocacy, and mentorship. Her legacy of service for marginalized scholars in the profession extends far beyond our own caucus, as she also served as a co-chair of the CCCC Committee on the Status of Women in the Profession, a member of the CCCC Committee for Diversity, and was an elected advisory board member of the CFSHRC (then the CWSHRC). She was also active in NCTE’s Scholars for the Dream network. Florence Elizabeth Bacabac reflects on Hyoejin’s generous mentorship and the impact it had on her: 

Without her knowing it, Hyoejin was a source of encouragement for me when I first organized (and directed) a campus women’s resource center while juggling a TT position at Utah Tech University. Her generosity allowed me to gain access to the National Women’s Studies Association resources/listserv and led me to attend the A/AA Caucus meeting at the C’s which she co-chaired in 2013. Our brief encounter may be an accident, but it had a lasting impact on my career. Safe travels, fly free, and see it all, Hyoejin!

Florence Elizabeth Bacabac
Utah Tech University

Hyoejin had an amazing ability to be present, to lift you up and push you forward—and to tell you what you might not want to hear but need to hear but in a way that was so calm, kind, and thoughtful. (We remember how she did this for the discipline when she wrote “Affecting the Transformative Intellectual.”) She had a calming presence but was also fierce in pushing the boundaries of the ways she found herself and others boxed in by the institution. She was a first-generation college student who majored in English and biology as an undergraduate, a daughter, a mother, a poet, a Kundiman fellow, and a 1996 CCCC Scholars for the Dream Award Winner. She was committed to mentoring others, bringing them into the conversation, and developing them as scholars, teachers, and leaders. She will be deeply missed, and we encourage us all to carry forward—and build upon—her legacies as a scholar, teacher, mentor, and leader in the discipline and beyond.

Works Cited

Carpenter, Cari M., and K. Hyoejin Yoon. “Rethinking Alternative Contact in Native American and Chinese Encounters: Juxtaposition in Nineteenth-Century U.S. Newspapers.” College Literature (2014): 7–42.

Crawford, Ilene. “Immigrant Act.” JAC 26.½ (2006), pp. 234–243.

Fox, Catherine. “Reprosexuality, Queer Desire, and Critical Pedagogy: A Response to Hyoejin Yoon.” JAC 26.½ (2006), pp. 244–253.

Monberg, Terese Guinsatao, Jennifer Sano-Franchini, and K. Hyoejin Yoon. “Asian/American Movements Through the Pandemic and Through the Discipline Before, During, and After COVID-19” in Reflections: A Journal of Community-Engaged Writing and Rhetoric 21.1: Fall/Winter 2021–22. 

Sano-Franchini, Jennifer, Terese Guinsatao Monberg, and K. Hyoejin Yoon, eds. Building a Community, Having a Home: A History of the Conference on College Composition & Communication Asian/Asian American Caucus. Working and Writing for Change Project. Anderson, SC: Parlor Press, 2017. 

Yoon, K. Hyoejin. “Affecting the Transformative Intellectual: Questioning ‘Noble’ Sentiments in Critical Pedagogy and Composition.” JAC (2005): 717–759.

Yoon, K. Hyoejin. “Learning Asian American Affect.” Representations: Doing Asian American Rhetoric (2008): 293–322.

Memorial Statement for K. Hyoejin Yoon

All of us who had the honor of meeting Dr. Hyoejin Yoon of West Chester University will never forget how generous, smart, perceptive, insightful, beautiful, fierce, and kind she was.  She was a leader and a role model for many of us in higher education and especially in Asian/Asian American studies and feminist studies. When Hyoejin passed away this past December of 2022 of a stroke, her death was unexpected. Her son Han, age 5, fiancé Tom, her parents, extended Korean American family, colleagues, and friends are all heart-broken at losing her when she was only in her early 50s.  I would like to share with you briefly my memories of Hyoejin as her professor and mentor and as her friend of thirty years. My response may be more personal than professional, although I wish to intertwine both dimensions. 

figure 1: a close-up photo of Hyoejin Yoon hugging her toddler son, Han. She is smiling warmly, and Han has a joyful grin with closed eyes.

I first met Hyoejin when she was a student working on her master’s degree in English at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA. I was an Assistant Professor of English at Virginia Tech and only six years older than Hyoejin. She attended a guest lecture I gave on feminist criticism for a graduate seminar on research methods in English studies. I remember her sitting in the front row of the lecture hall, gazing up at me expectantly.  I enjoyed being introduced to her afterward. Hyoejin told me she was interested in learning more about feminist theory and said she hoped we’d work together someday. She invited me to go to the local bar “The Cellar” in downtown Blacksburg where she and some other graduate students were meeting for a drink and playing music. I already had plans for the evening, but I remember being flattered by the invitation and curious about her life as a musician. I later learned she was an accomplished singer and violinist and played gigs regularly with John Priestley, another of our English graduate students.     

During our two years together at Virginia Tech, I worked with her in graduate courses on composition pedagogy and critical theory, and I was honored to become her major professor and support her thesis work. Hyoejin was an excellent reader and writer of complex critical theories, including feminist theory and film theory, willing to stretch and work hard as a writer and thinker. I enjoyed seeing her tackle and critique theories of critical pedagogy and point to the ways these theories did not acknowledge the specificity of  teachers’ or students’ bodies and affective relations in the classroom. Seeing her strong work ethic and theoretical acumen sparked me to ask her to collaborate on proposing two summer conference panels on feminism and writing pedagogy.  

Hyoejin, and then fellow graduate student Jenny Bay (now at Purdue University), and I traveled together to conferences and presented while the three of us were at Virginia Tech. One of those times was to a conference at the University of Wyoming where we gave papers critiquing and questioning theories of  critical pedagogy in relation to teachers’ embodiment in the classroom. The conference included outdoor activities such as hiking, hanging out at a local campground for a barbeque, trainspotting, and visiting the infamous Cowboy Saloon in downtown Laramie, where visitors could rub elbows with local ranchers and cowboys. One night, we found ourselves at the Cowboy Saloon, playing  pool against a group of rodeo cowboys clad in Wrangler jeans, massive belt buckles, plaid snap button shirts, and cowboy boots. Hyoejin was a pool shark and handily beat every single cowboy who approached the pool table. Part way through the evening, she leaned over and whispered, “I’m the only Asian woman in this whole place, and I’m kicking their butts!” They were no match against her skills.  

Another time we attended and presented papers at a conference in Hamilton, New York at Colgate University. After driving for what felt like days through the tundra of upstate New York, we arrived in Hamilton only to learn that there were no restaurants open. Everything shut down after 8 p.m. except for the local mini mart and the laundromat, and our conference lodging was a newly built college dormitory with no dining access. We ended up the mini mart buying boxes of “Lunchables” and then going back to our dorm room bunk beds to eat cheese, crackers, grapes, carrots, and skittles out of cellophane wrapped plastic trays. We giggled on our bunks and felt like we were back in college; we even glimpsed Andrea Lunsford striding down the hallway in her sleepwear later that night.  The next night after a long day of conferencing,  we went out to dinner with Joe Trimmer and Pat Belanoff to a two-hundred-year-old inn that was out in the countryside near farm fields. Joe told us stories about attending college at Colgate University, and Pat regaled us with stories of her work with Peter Elbow at SUNY-Stony Brook. At that point in the day, our energy was flagging after a long day of conferencing, but we saw how Pat was still going strong, still full of energy while we were slumping in our seats.  I remember Hyoejin, Jenny, and I agreeing that we were going to do our best to match Pat Belanoff ‘s energy levels as we continued into our careers.  

When Hyoejin finished up her master’s degree at Virginia Tech, I wrote a letter to support her application to doctoral programs. I remember confessing in that letter how much I was going to miss her at Virginia Tech. Hyoejin was admitted to the doctoral program at University at Albany—State University of New York and went north to work with Steve North, Lil Brannon, and other colleagues. The move to Albany was hard for her and a bit of a culture shock; she missed her supportive extended Korean-American family and  friends in Northern Virginia and D.C. and the cold climate and fraying urban infrastructure of Albany was an adjustment. I remember visiting her in Albany, staying in her graduate school apartment a few times,  listening to her try to  make peace with her gray, cloud covered new hometown and the cold and snow of upstate New York. I had moved to upstate New York, too, to accept a position at Syracuse University so I could relate.  I remember her sending me a determined letter after one of those visits in which she proclaimed:  “This summer, I’m going to find a way to love Albany,” and she did over time. She made lifelong friends at Albany, taught, moved her scholarship forward and became involved in working at a non-profit organization where she supported LGBTQ rights and the rights of people of color.  Hyoejin’s activist voice was amplified by this work and carried over into anti-racist teaching and her advocacy for BIPOC faculty throughout her career.  

It’s rare that we, as faculty,  follow our M.A. students to their next institution, but I was fortunate to be able to serve on Hyoejin’s dissertation committee at Albany, serving alongside Bret Benjamin and Steve North (her director).  She wrote an insightful 334-page dissertation “The Subjects of Critical Pedagogy and Composition:  The Asian-American Teacher Intellectual and Affect” on the problem of critical pedagogy and her own positionality as an Asian-American woman teaching in the writing classroom.  Bringing together theories of racial identity, multiple consciousness, and the idea of the “teacher-in-process,” she argued for a “self-reflective process of  teacher development that for Asian-American (and other) teachers could counteract critical pedagogy’s reliance on a finished and inscrutable teacher, who is also, often, white and male.  This perspective could illuminate how to successfully enact alternative, liberatory pedagogies” (ix). One of the chapters in Hyoejin’s dissertation was revised to become the article “Affecting the Transformative Intellectual: Questioning ‘Noble’ Sentiments in Critical Pedagogy and Composition”  published in JAC, and it became the winner of the 2005 Elizabeth A. Flynn award for the best feminist essay in rhetoric and composition.  

 I remember tearing up when I read the dissertation’s acknowledgements page:  “To Eileen E. Schell, my long-time mentor and friend, and a role model of a scholar, feminist, and activist, working for (i.e., doing) the things that matter most; she has been an unflagging supporter and a constant source of inspiration and intellectual stimulation” (vi-vii). I felt the same about Hyoejin—she inspired me, too, and our mentor/mentee relationship was more horizontal  than vertical, what Pamela Van Haitsma and Steph Ceraso refer to as the “offering of help, guidance, and training) that is carried out within a horizontal rather than hierarchical relationship (between peers, as opposed to a more and less experienced mentor and mentee). (Van Haitsma and Ceraso 211).







figure 2: two photos, side by side, of Hyoejin Yoon and Eileen Schell. They are sitting at a table in a dimly lit restaurant and are both wearing black and white print blouses with champagne-colored jackets: “twinning,” as Eileen Schell put it. In the photo on the left, Hyoejin and Eileen are smiling and looking into the camera. In the photo on the right, they have started to laugh. These photos are from the Conference on College Composition and Communication: the Atlanta convention in 2011.

As other colleagues have pointed out in their tributes, Hyoejin’s scholarship and administrative work were dedicated to making universities better places for women and people of color.  She won awards and gained recognition for her work. She served on and ably co-led national committees: The CCCC Committee on the Status of Women in the Profession, which became the Feminist Caucus Standing Group, the Asian/Asian American Caucus of CCCC and others. She also co-edited the important book Building a Community, Having a Home: A History of the Conference on College Composition and Communication Asian/Asian American Caucus (Working and Writing for Change, University of South Carolina Press) with Jennifer Sano-Franchini  and Terese Guinsatao Monberg, which Terese and Jennifer comment on in their tribute.  

Hyoejin and I often talked about the challenges of balancing career with family, especially the challenges of motherhood. One summer we met up near the Philadelphia airport for breakfast at a diner near Hyoejin’s home, and we talked about her excitement about becoming an Associate Dean, about how I was balancing motherhood with being an academic Department Chair, and her struggles to have a child and the ups and downs of marriage. Having a family was a high priority for Hyoejin, but it was not an easy process for her.  I was so excited to hear about the birth of her son Han Alexander, born May 28, 2017, when Hyoejin was 46 years old. She was up front about her fertility struggles and challenging birth process, agreeing to be interviewed after Han’s birth by “Parent Trip” columnist Anndee Hochman from the Philadelphia Inquirer.  As she said of motherhood in the interview with Hochman. “It is nice to have something really important and big other than work in my life. It does feel like there’s a little more balance” (n.p.).

figure 3: a close-up selfie of Hyoejin, holding her son Han, and Eileen, who are standing together outdoors in a city at night. They are all smiling

I finally got a chance to meet Hyoejin and Han in Philadelphia in October of 2019 when I attended the Community Writing Conference. Han, Hyoejin, and I went out to dinner and caught up. Han, now a toddler, enjoyed observing the fish tanks in the restaurant and running between our table and the tanks. I gave him a stuffed tiger as a present, which he clutched all night, and we snapped a photo of us outside the hotel where I was staying while we hugged goodbye. I had no idea that it would be the last time I saw Hyoejin. The COVID-19 pandemic shut down the conferences in which we usually staged our annual reunions. The last time I spoke with Hyoejin was in May of 2021. She called me for advice about a particular challenge she was facing in her job. We made plans to meet up for dinner and attend each other’s panels at the next in-person CCCC.  

When I heard the news of Hyoejin’s passing in December 2022 from a colleague at West Chester, I could not imagine a world without her. Via zoom, I attended her moving memorial service broadcast on February 4, 2023. I pored over pictures of us and past emails I had saved where she sent me her work-in-progress. I penned a letter for a notebook of remembrances that Hyoejin’s family gathered for Han to read as he grows up. These past weeks and months since Hyoejin’s death have often felt empty and sad due to losing her so unexpectedly. At CCCC in Chicago this year, I went from panel to panel thinking of Hyoejin. CCCC was our annual reunion time, and it was hard to wrap my head around the fact that she was gone. I had hoped we might tote Han around Chicago to see the local sights as we used to do with my daughter Autumn when she was a child attending CCCC. Walking the halls of the convention, I remembered so many milestones: Hyoejin presenting her first CCCC paper, accepting the 1996 CCCC Scholars for the Dream Award, receiving the 2005 Elizabeth A. Flynn award for best feminist essay in rhetoric and composition, attending the all-day Wednesday Feminist workshops together, attending the CCCC Committee on the Status of Women in the Profession and Women’s Network meetings, knowing that the next night she would be attending to the Asian/Asian American Caucus. I don’t know if I will ever get used to Hyoejin being gone, but I do know she would tell us to keep going and to keep doing the work that needs to be done.

In Hyoejin’s honor, West Chester University, where she spent 20 years of her career, founded a scholarship to support women of color, a wonderful way to remember and honor her commitment to mentoring and supporting faculty and students of color and fighting for racial justice in higher education.  One way we can honor Hyoejin is to donate to that fund, and another way is to continue to stay in touch with and nurture those who have mentored us and those we have mentored or are now mentoring. Hyoejin was an amazing, mentor, scholar, teacher, activist, Mom, family member, friend, and partner. We are all better for knowing her.  

Works Cited

Hochman, Anndeee.  “The Parent Trip: Hyoejin Yoon.”  Philadelphia Inquirer, 26 July 2017.

Sano-Franchini, Jennifer, Terese Guinsatao Monberg, and K. Hyoejin Yoon, eds. Building a  Community, Having a Home: A History of the Conference on College Composition & Communication Asian/Asian American Caucus. Working and Writing for Change Project. Anderson, SC: Parlor Press, 2017. 

VanHaitsma, Pamela, and Steph Ceraso. “`Making It’ in the Academy through Horizontal Mentoring.” Peitho 19.2 (2017): 210-233. 

Yoon, K. Hyoejin. “Affecting the Transformative Intellectual: Questioning  the ‘Noble’ Sentiments of Critical Pedagogy and Composition.” JAC (2005): 717–759.

Yoon,  Hyoejin K.  “The Subjects of Critical Pedagogy and Composition: The Asian-American Teacher Intellectual and Affect.” Ph.D. Dissertation, University at Albany, State University of New York, 2003.