About Hyunjin Seo
Hyunjin Seo (pronounced: hen-jin suh) is Oscar Stauffer Professor and Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development in the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Kansas. She is also the founding director of the KU Center for Digital Inclusion and a faculty associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University where she was a resident fellow in AY2018-2019.
Her research focuses on identifying emerging properties of networked communication and understanding their implications for social change, collective action and civic engagement. Seo is the author of Networked Collective Actions: The Making of an Impeachment (Oxford University Press, forthcoming), which examines intricate relationships between social institutions and agents during South Korean collective actions directed at political changes. She strives to inform organizations and policies by working closely with community members, policymakers and activists through her research. For example, she leads a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded program offering evidence-based technology education to women recently released from jails and prisons and empirical analyses of marginalized populations' digital learning and online information assessment. In 2021, Seo and her collaborators were awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) for their interactive visual art project aimed at facilitating conversations about structural barriers and societal biases facing women in reentry as well as their wisdom and resilience in navigating challenges in returning to society. Seo's research on teens’ use of social media and collective action was 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. In 2013 she was named a Docking Faculty Scholar, an award given by the University of Kansas to a faculty member who has “distinguished themselves early through exceptional research and teaching.” In January 2014, the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication named her an Emerging Scholar in recognition of my research on social media and social change. 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 and the KU Faculty Excellence in Service Learning Award in 2017. 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.