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Bang-Soon Yoon: Spotlight

What drew you to the field? During my high school years in Korea, my favorite pastime was to read newspapers, particularly, the editorial sections and special columns written by a high school teacher who talked about his experiences travelling all over the five continents. These newspaper articles fascinated me and I wanted to explore new places outside my home country. I also became very aware of the diversity of social, political, cultural issues in the modern world. When I was a high school senior, I had already determined to major in political science and diplomacy.

 How did your college experience affect you? I was actively involved in student governance as a student representative for the four years of my undergraduate studies, and participated in numerous on/off campus college student activities on a variety of social, international, and cultural issues. I believe such experiences nurtured my leadership, public speaking capabilities, and allowed me to work cooperatively with people at large gatherings.

What is your favorite class to teach? The Government & Politics of East Asia, Korean Politics, Politics of Globalization, Women & Politics, Global Feminisms & International Political Economy.

Research underway?

IMF Maidens:  Economic Globalization & Gender Politics

Imperial Japan’s “military comfort women” and State Power

North Korean Defectors:  Human Rights Issues

North Korean Women Crossing the Border: New Paradigm of Global Migration

Bride Market in Asia:  Globalization, Migration & Gender Politics

University Service? Currently serving: Asian & Pacific Studies Committee, Chair, Personnel Committee, Dept. of Political Science

World Language Ability: Korean (native speaker)/Chinese (read & write)

Philosophy of teaching? With my Confucian up-bringing, education is very important to me. I love to share my knowledge with students and emphasize students maximizing their learning opportunities with me (e.g., come to see me as frequently as possible when they need academic advice for research papers, class experience, etc.!). 

Greatest Accomplishment and Awards?

The East-West Center Grant for Graduate Studies, Resource Systems Institutes, East West Center, Honolulu, Hawaii, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State (This full scholarship award allowed me to come to the U.S. to pursue my graduate studies in political science.)

Fulbright Senior Scholar in Lecturing/Research Award in Korea sponsored by the U.S. Department of State (This award allowed me to return to Korea to teach at two of Korea’s “Ivy League” schools for a year).

Graduate Teaching Assistance scholarship from University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii. (This scholarship allowed me to complete my Ph. D. in political science and develop my teaching experience for undergraduate students).

Professional organizations?

American Political Science Association Standing Committee on the Status of Asian Pacific Americans in Profession, Washington, D.C.,

Nomination Committee, Women's Caucus, American Political Science Association, Washington, D.C.

American Political Science Association Standing Committee member on the Status of Women in the Profession, Washington, D.C.,

Secretary, The Research Committee on Sex-Roles and Politics, The International Political Science Association, Dublin, Ireland

Interviews given? The New York Times on reverse brain-drain and international migration of high level human power, The Christian Science Monitor on the Korean model of reverse brain-drain, state role and the R & D system.


Proud Ewhaian Award” for Professional Achievement from the Ewha Women’s University Alumnae Association of North America

Women’s Achievement Award from Center for Student Empowerment, Central Washington University

Kim Ae Da Honors Award, Scholarship for Academic Excellence & First Place Award for the Highest Score in the College Entrance Examination from the Department of Political Science & Diplomacy, Ewha Women's University, Republic of Korea

Did you have a profession before becoming a psychology professor? Before I came to the U.S. for graduate studies in political science, I worked as an administrative staffer at Korea’s leading science & technology think-thank. I enjoyed my work as the only woman professional staff in administration out of a total of 1,200 employees at this organization.

Most meaningful experience? My work experience at Korea’s science & technology think-tank. This allowed me to learn about the importance of international technology transfer in global politics, as well as important roles state play in the management of high-level human power for economic/social developments. This work experience contributed to my Ph. D. dissertation research and teachings of the International Political economy, Politics of Globalization, and the Politics & Government of East Asia, and Korean Politics courses at CWU, in particular.

My East-West Center scholarship and living experience with scholars/students from twenty eight countries at the East-West Center international dormitories widely opened up my horizon to cross-national and cross-cultural comparative studies of politics. 

What was your family of origin like? My parents taught their eight children that education, together with our health, is our own possession that nobody can take away from us. And they emphasized learning for our enjoyment of life. They sponsored all of their eight children’s college education, which took two and half decades between the early 1950s and the late 1970s. I admire their teaching and efforts. When I chose during my high school years to major in political science & diplomacy (known as a “non-feminine” subject), my parents without any hesitance supported my decision. This family environment helped me become one of the first ten South Korean women to complete a Ph. D. in political science. I am very proud of my family’s encouragement and my decision to become a political science professor.

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