New professors on Campus, Pt. III

April West

This week, April West interviewed three more new professors on campus – all working in different departments of the university.Wen-Lei Gu, a new assistant professor of violin in the Conservatory, received her bachelor’s from the Julliard School of Music and her master’s from the Mannes College of Music.
Professor Gu is in the final stages of her D.M.A. in violin performance at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Her teachers include Yao-Ji Lin, Dorothy Delay, Ida Kavafian and Miriam Fried.
Gu was brought up in a musical family where both of her parents were musicians. She was raised playing both violin and piano.
Gu says that she likes Appleton very much and feels that students at Lawrence University are extremely intelligent and eager to learn. She likes being at a small school where she feels the students work together and receive immense support from the administration.
“I feel that it is a privilege as musicians to perform and communicate to audience. I hope to inspire students to feel the same appreciation,” Gu says.
She goes on to say that “teaching is tremendously rewarding and satisfying; when a student improves it is the best gift I could ask for. I would like to help students develop their talents to the fullest and also hope to be a good role model through my own performances.”
David McGlynn, assistant professor of English, is from Salt Lake City, Utah where he got his doctorate in literature and creative writing. There he was also the managing editor of the Western Humanities Review. He received his bachelor’s in English and philosophy from University of California-Irvine.
About Lawrence, McGlynn said, “It’s nice to be in a smaller place where people actually know each other and are familiar with each other – it makes for a much tighter community.”
When asked about Appleton, McGlynn replied that he loved how many trees there are and how much water there is.
He said, “I enjoy the quiet life; it is a much more conducive environment for me to write than a big city. I like having a place to think, ride my bike or go for a swim. That is why Appleton is great for me.”
As for his interest in creative writing, McGlynn said that he has “been interested in creative writing, and interesting words, for as long as I can remember, and college showed me how to go about that pursuit academically.”
McGlynn stated, “I want to help students see how a story functions; to be able to see what makes a moment beautiful or a great moment great. I want to show them different paths they can take with their emotions and drives, and then it is up to them whether or not they take them.”
Ron Peck, a new assistant professor of biology, is lighthearted, funny and most importantly, a strong advocate for the Viking Room. “I love the VR and I think it should never close,” he says.
Peck attended Linfield College, a small liberal arts school in Oregon. He then went on to graduate and post-doctorate school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
About his choice to teach at Lawrence, he says, “The faculty and staff here are very warm and friendly. [We are] very dedicated to getting better at what we do. We are always talking and asking each other questions, trying to do a better job.”
“I want to challenge students to think about the world differently, and to observe and think about how it all works together,” Peck added.
“I do want to make a difference. I hope that 30 years from now some student will feel the urge to contact me and say thank you.