NaYoung Hwang holds a PhD in Education from the University of California, Irvine. Her research interests include school discipline, social stratification, and education policy analysis. NaYoung's work has been published in American Education Research Journal, Youth & Society, and Journal of Research on Adolescence, among others.
As an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher in her native Korea, NaYoung was able to witness firsthand the influence of socioeconomic background on a child’s English language achievement and, ultimately, educational prospects. In addition, by teaching English to adult professionals, she observed the crucial influence of one’s childhood access to language education on his/her future employment opportunities in English-obsessed Korea. These experiences, combined with her work as a volunteer teacher in Korean orphanages, spurred NaYoung’s interest in the impact of education on social mobility and stratification.
NaYoung is now a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Research on Educational Opportunity (CREO) at the University of Notre Dame, where she explores policies and methods that can improve the abilities and prospects of children from underprivileged backgrounds. NaYoung is particularly interested in the ways in which school disciplinary policies affect youth development and school climate.