SOYOUNG PARK, Ph.D.
I originally come from Korea, a country full of interesting history and culture. Since I was little, I have been a passionate traveler. Different cultures have always fascinated me and have motivated me to travel whenever I can. Mongolia and France have special places at my heart. Where's your favorite destination?
After finishing my bachelor's and master's in economics at Korea University, I moved to Pennsylvania to pursue Ph.D. in tourism management at Penn State. With quantitative training I received from economics and people-focused training from leisure studies, I have centered my research around data and people. I use data-driven methods such as econometrics and machine learning to understand tourism phenomena that can impact people's lives. I am especially interested in the well-being of children and minority groups, which is why currently I am researching the ways to effectively campaign the negative outcomes of volunteering abroad in residential care facilities for my dissertation. Such mission-driven research provides purpose and meaning to my academic life.
Another core of my research is data. I love, love, love playing with data, and a lot of it! I enjoy aggregating various government issued data and scraping social media data to observe and discover patterns. My three studies on parks and one on children's educational outcome used large secondhand data. My study on identifying next direct flight destinations and my dissertation work on orphanage tourism uses web data such as website traffic and Twitter. Please refer to my research tab for more information on these studies!
Though research excites me, teaching is the reason I stay in this career path. First thing I love about teaching is designing a course. Creating assignments and materials to make a class flow smoothly is always exciting, especially when I can see that my students learning and joining the flow I've created! I've taught Research Methods, Intro to Leisure Studies, and Marketing Recreational Services during my stay at Penn State. Currently, I teach Intro to Hospitality and Tourism and Guest Service Mangement. You can find out more about my teaching experience at my teaching tab.
I hope you got to know me a little through this short intro. If you have any questions or would like to get to know me better, please connect with me and send me a message!