Hyunjin Seo is an assistant professor of strategic communications in the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Kansas. In 2013 she was named a Docking Young Faculty Scholar, an award given to a junior faculty member who has “distinguished herself early in her career at KU.” Seo’s research interests lie at the intersection of digital media, civic engagement and international communication. She has conducted research on how social collaborative networks, facilitated by digital communication technologies, help mobilize movements or address social problems at local, national or international levels. Her recent projects include an empirical study of teens’ use of social media and collective action funded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. Her research has received top paper awards at leading international conferences and has been published in top-tier journals such as Journal of Communication and New Media & Society. Seo received her Ph.D. in mass communications from Syracuse University in 2010 where her dissertation was awarded the all-university Doctoral Prize.
Seo teaches courses on social media, research methods and strategic campaigns. Her “excellence and innovation in teaching” earned her a Promising Professor Award from AEJMC’s Mass Communication and Society Division in 2013. Critical and analytical thinking and independent learning are at the core of her teaching, as she believes these are important tools students will require in whatever profession they pursue in an increasingly complex world. She strives to help students build reasoning abilities and spark their imagination. And her classes combine theoretical and hands-on approaches to issues by enabling students to work with real-world clients. Most of all, she is excited about the idea of potentially helping students realize their dreams.
Seo’s research and teaching are influenced by her professional experience in journalism and strategic communication in South Korea and the United States. Prior to her graduate studies in the United States, Seo was a foreign affairs correspondent for South Korean and international media outlets. During that time, she traveled extensively to cover major international events including six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear issues and gatherings of world leaders such as the United Nations and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit talks. She has also consulted to U.S. and Korea-based nongovernmental organizations regarding their social media strategies and relations with international press.