I was raised in Seoul, Korea and lived there until I graduated from college. In middle school and high school, I was eager to learn and always tried to do better in my classes. Secondary school was not as enjoyable, however, because of Korea's notorious "examination hell."
My grandfather, who has a doctoral degree in philosophy and who taught me to love music, arts, history, and politics, influenced my decision to enter the educational psychology department of Seoul Women's University. Psychology fascinated me, so I studied psychodrama and volunteered in a school for children with autism in order to learn about the human mind and behavior. Learning human thoughts and feelings about learning and their motivation to learn was crucial in my ability to understand and analyze my own experience in secondary school.
In the graduate program at the University of Texas at Austin, I deepened my understanding of human learning and motivation. Collaborating on research with colleagues, presenting our findings at the SERA, AERA and APA conferences, and having discussions with colleagues and scholars were my favorite activities in graduate school. Learning about various theories and research about human motivation, in particular, helped me to understand what was going on in my academic life and that of the people around me and helped me to experience emotional relief through the understanding. Through the journey, I began to understand how to create a better environment for learning.
My research interests are now concerned with identifying the sociocultural and contextual influences of parents, teachers, and society on learning and motivation of middle and high school students with ethnic/cultural backgrounds in their various learning contexts. I use both quantitative and qualitative research methodology to investigate my research questions. In my dissertation, I investigated the role of parents or teachers in shaping the motivation of high school students in the U.S. As I learn more about the role of motivation in learning, I currently have a strong interest in understanding human achievement motivation in relation to human identities and their cultural experiences.
My students at University of Colorado Denver
My students here in CU Denver are very eager to learn, have a keen understanding of what they learn, know how to learn, and have various and unique life experiences. I hope to co-construct enjoyable and meaningful learning experiences with my students and to encourage their interest in human motivation and in the psychology of learning.
Classes I teach at the University of Colorado Denver School of Education & Human Development
- Human Motivation - EPSY 6600
- Human Learning - EPSY 5110
- Human Development across the Lifespan - EPSY 6200
- Advanced Adolescent Growth/Development - EPSY 5140
My research interests
- Identifying the sociocultural and contextual influence of parents, teachers, and society on students' learning, motivation, and self-regulation
- Understanding the achievement motivation of heritage language learners by examining their relationships with their ethnic identities
- Exploring students' achievement goal orientation in a collaborative learning context
I spend most of my free time reading, listening to music, visiting coffee houses, and exploring new and exciting areas in Denver. In addition, I recently joined Facebook and enjoy using it to connect with friends.
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