Hoeyun Kwon

Hoeyun Kwon, PhD student, geography

Maps human behavior in disaster

“Hoeyun’s research has broader impacts and findings that are relevant for people. She studies big data to discover human behaviors during pandemics and disasters and how these behaviors change across different geographies and time periods.” -Caglar Koylu, assistant professor, geographical and sustainability sciences

Hometown: Seoul, South Korea

Faculty mentor/advisor: Caglar Koylu, PhD, assistant professor, geographical and sustainability sciences, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

What is your degree program and expected graduate date? I am pursuing a PhD in geography and expect to graduate in spring 2023.

Please describe your research: My research aims to understand how people react to disasters differently across space and time. For example, I study how people have changed their traveling patterns during the COVID-19 pandemic compared to pre-pandemic. I further investigate how the changes in traveling patterns vary across different regions and time periods during the pandemic and how socioeconomic factors affect those variations.

In simple terms, why does this research matter? Understanding how disasters impact human behaviors is important because the ways people cope with disasters vary depending on their geographical locations and time. My research contributes to improving the quality of our lives by helping policymakers design more effective location-based disaster policies that reduce the impact of disasters.

How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research? I participated in research immediately after joining the GeoSocial Lab in my first semester at the University of Iowa.

How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa? Conducting research at the University of Iowa has been a wonderful journey. I’ve learned to think critically, collaborate with my research teams, and communicate my research with diverse audiences. Doing research has also promoted my personal growth. I’ve learned to manage my time and stress better!

What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation? I hope to continue my research in academia and mentor students, so I plan to pursue a career as a professor after graduation.

Banner location: Downtown—Washington St., in front of The Englert