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Introducing Drew University’s Newest Faculty

A home run derby champ, a bad junior year GPA, and a famous hometown

September 2021 – Drew University has welcomed 10 new faculty members to The Forest for the 2021-22 academic year.

Let’s get to know a few of them a little better!

Andrea Lee – Assistant Teaching Professor, Chemistry

What brought you to Drew?

I was looking for a place that aligned with my teaching philosophies and also had a small student-faculty ratio. Not only did Drew have both of these, but it was really amazing to see how supportive the students and faculty were of each other. It was something I wanted to be a part of.

What were you doing before Drew?

I was finishing up my PhD at Wesleyan University. I did my dissertation work in an inorganic chemistry research lab that focused on the synthesis and examination of less toxic, transition metal-based MRI contrast agents.

What’s one thing students don’t know about you?

In 2019, I accidentally won a softball home run derby. There was free food at the event and I was there to help out. At one point, the person running the event told me to take some swings in hopes that it would encourage others to sign up. And by the end of the day, I somehow walked away with the trophy, which goes to show that maybe my hitting is a lot better when the other team isn’t on the field.

Jeongkyu Lee – Associate Professor, Math & Computer Science

What were you doing before Drew?

I was a professor of Computer Science at a small university like Drew, the University of Bridgeport. I have been teaching and researching the multimedia database for 16 years with wonderful students and colleagues at Bridgeport.

What brought you to Drew?

I believe the next decade will see a fully data-driven society, so the data analytics program at Drew felt like the best way to continue my journey in data analysis and machine learning. One more reason: the campus is in the forest rather than by the sea!

What’s one thing students don’t know about you?

My junior year GPA. Please, do not ask me the exact GPA, but it was way below yours. I was distracted by the political drama unfolding in my home town in South Korea and I couldn’t ignore the historical stream of events, and I learned a lot outside of the classroom. The main job of students is definitely to study, but don’t hesitate to branch out if you believe it is worthwhile.

Francisco Pelaez-Diaz – Assistant Teaching Professor in Latinx Ministries

What brought you to Drew?

As a scholar interested in the intersection of religion and migration, I am honored to continue and expand the legacy of two influential and beloved Latinx Drew scholars, Professor Emerita Ada María Isasi-Díaz and Professor Otto Maduro. This connection—along with the institutional commitment to sustain a diverse student population and a model that equips students with knowledge and experiences that are highly applicable for a successful professional transition and leadership in both ministry and society—is what brought me to Drew.

What were you doing before Drew?

Finishing my PhD at Princeton Theological Seminary and constantly adjusting to the totally unexpected reality of navigating a pandemic as a parent of two young children.

What’s one thing students don’t know about you?

I come from the fifth-largest city in Mexico (metro population of over three million), the place where two Mexican national dishes were born: chiles en nogada and mole poblano. It is also the birthplace of the Cinco de Mayo celebration. Can you guess which city?

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