UIS Alumni on Lan Dong’s Teaching

Amanda DiNardoAmanda Dinardo (BA 2017 English)

Amanda took two classes as an undergraduate with Dr. Dong: International Short Stories and Memoirs Across Cultures. From her first day of class, Amanda knew that Lan saw potential in each student. This quality made Amanda look forward to Lan’s classes.

On Lan’s suggestion, Amanda submitted a paper she wrote for Lan’s International Short Stories class to a conference in Memphis organized by the National Council of Undergraduate Research. “She repeatedly took time out of her schedule to make sure the abstract submission was perfect,” said Amanda. Without Lan’s interest and encouragement, Amanda says she would never have considered a conference submission, which turned out to be an incredible growing experience for Amanda.

“Her warm, affirming approach to teaching evidences a deep passion for student learning. Her individualized attention and belief in my potential caused me to excel in my senior year at UIS. Dr. Dong deserves every honor.”

Amanda is currently in the Digital Pedagogy in English MA program at UIS.

David HartshorneDavid Hartshorne (BA 2012 English)

David took classes from Lan in 2010 and 2011. He said, “While she expects her students to meet high standards, she approaches her work with great sensitivity and objectivity.” He appreciated how the literature she taught—“outside the traditional canon”—inspired him to examine his place in the world and how deeply he is able to analyze and appreciate diverse forms of literature.

“After two semesters, I was so inspired by Lan’s natural style of encouragement that I asked her to become my academic advisor. Since that time, my respect for her has grown. Her thoughtfulness coupled with her high standards have provided me with principles and discipline that have inspired me to excel in pursuit of my life goals. I am honored to know her.”

David, a lifelong learner, is a business owner in Libertyville, Illinois, and an ESL teacher. He is also an accomplished ceramic artist and pottery teacher.

Sherri MartinSherri Martin (BA 2015 English)

Sherri is now a English Instructor at Terra State Community College in Fremont, Ohio. She says she always strives to emulate Lan in her own teaching by being thought-provoking, thorough and extremely relatable. She especially wants to take the time to reach out to her students, just as Lan did with her.

Students were not just a number to Professor Lan. They are real people with real lives and they really matter. I want to give you a personal example: We had a paper due on a Sunday night. That weekend, my home had electrical issues that fried the motherboard on the only computer I had. I panicked. I had no way of contacting her until that Monday or Tuesday. As soon as I could get online, I went straight to email, only to find an email from her saying she was concerned when she didn’t see a paper from me. You see, she paid attention to me and my work ethics and knew right away something was wrong.  How cool is that? She was one of my favorite professors. It was my privilege to sit in her classes.

An additional highlight of Sherri’s time at UIS, thanks to Lan Dong, was presenting at the Student, Technology, Arts and Research Symposium in 2015: “I even had people come up to me afterwards to tell me how they would love to sit in one of my classrooms when I become a teacher. How cool and encouraging was that?”