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Yen Yen Woo: ‘Discovering Capacities You Never Knew You Had’


Morgan Lyle,Assistant Director of Public Relations
LIU Post, Long Island University

Yen Yen WooDr. Yen Yen Woo is an associate professor of education, teaching curriculum development, social foundations of education and introduction to educational research. She’s also an international award-winning filmmaker. And now, her new iPad-only comic, “Dim Sum Warriors,” has been profiled on Time magazine’s Tech Blog.

“Dim Sum Warriors,” co-created with Dr. Woo’s husband, Colin Goh, debuted at New York Comic Con in October. It’s the first interactive bilingual comic app, a kind of graphic novel for the iPad that also helps people to learn Chinese (or English) and teaches Chinese culture within its plotline.

Tech Blog notes “Dim Sum Warriors” features “punning chapter titles like ‘You win some, you dim sum’ and parodies of steroids like ‘InnerStrength,’ a health elixir and energy drink that makes the warriors in Colonel Quickynoodle’s Fried Kung Academy look like body builders. The name Quickynoodle itself is a comment on instant ramen and genetically engineered foods.”

“Of course, the husband-and-wife team hopes to teach Chinese language learners about dim sum, a traditional Chinese ritual,” blogger Olivia B. Waxman wrote. “Goh and Woo eat dim sum every week; it is a family affair in their household, as it is for many Chinese families. It is also fun to learn about a new language and culture through its food.”

Dr.Woo’s scholarly interests include youth studies, temporalities, international education and curriculum studies, and in particular, she is interested in how research can reach wider audiences through the synergy of different pedagogical, research and cultural production methodologies. Her scholarship has been published in prestigious journals such as Educational Researcher, Discourse and the Asia-Pacific Journal of Education.

Dr. Woo wrote, produced and directed “Singapore Dreaming,” a feature film inspired by her doctoral dissertation, that has won several international awards, including the Best Asian Film Award at the Tokyo International Film Festival, the Montblanc New Screenwriters Award at the San Sebastian International Film Festival in Spain and the Audience Award for Narrative Feature at the Asian-American International Film Festival in New York. In addition, Dr. Woo’s film work has been screened at the Brooklyn Museum in New York; the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.; and on TV all over the world.

“I live what I teach my students,” he said. “Education is about discovering capacities you never knew you had."

Dr. Woo’s international education work has included being a curriculum consultant for the Teachers College (Columbia University) Afghanistan Education Development Project sponsored by UNICEF and training teachers in using video in schools for the Ministry of Education in Singapore.

Her academic awards have included the Spencer Doctoral Research Fellowship and the Project Milestone Fellowship at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Dr. Woo earned her B.A. at National University of Singapore and her master’s and doctorate in education at Teachers College, Columbia University.

The “Dim Sum Warriors” app is available for free at the iTunes store. The first two chapters are also available free.

Posted 11/28/2012

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