The University of Chicago

School of Social Service Administration Magazine

Yoonsun Choi Promoted to Rank of Full Professor

Yoonsun Choi was promoted to the rank of Full Professor, effective September 1.

Professor Yoonsun Choi at her deskSince joining the SSA faculty, Yoonsun has emerged as one of the leading scholars on Asian American families and youth. Yoonsun’s research agenda has focused on several broad and intersecting questions regarding the mental health of Asian American youth; Asian American family dynamics and parenting; and the role of culture, ethnicity, and race in youth outcomes. Her research has powerfully challenged the notion of Asian Americans as a “model minority,” and revealed how Asian American youth are at high risk for internalizing mental health problems. Yoonsun’s work has also examined issues of culture, acculturation, and retention of heritage culture, and their effect on youth development, identity, and behavior problems.  She developed and fielded two longitudinal surveys of a diverse group of Asian American families. These ambitious and time-consuming projects have resulted in two unique data sets on Asian American youth and families – these are among the largest and richest data sets on Asian American families currently available in the United States.

In addition to her research efforts, Yoonsun has demonstrated a deep dedication to teaching. She has guided the careers of master’s and doctoral students, mentored students in the College, served as faculty advisor for the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, served as a thesis reader for students from the East Asian Language and Civilization and International Relations departments, and advised post-doctoral researchers and junior faculty colleagues. In recognition of her outstanding abilities, Yoonsun received SSA’s 2018 Doctoral Mentoring Award.

Beyond her academic and scholarly contributions, Yoonsun has been an engaged institutional leader within SSA and the University at large. She has been a leader in forging stronger ties with the College, chairing the working group to establish a minor in the College. She served as chair of the SSA/Chapin Hall Institutional Review Board, chaired the research curriculum group as part of the Curriculum Policy Committee, and served on the SSA Deanship Advisory Committee. As a member of SSA’s Admissions Committee, Yoonsun developed a model to guide admissions of international students and traveled to South Korea to promote recruitment and academic exchanges between the U.S. and South Korea.

In the field of social work, Yoonsun is known for her strong national and international reputation and pioneering research agenda. She has provided service to scientific and professional communities, serving on federal grant review panels and on editorial boards of major social work and adolescent health and development journals. She has held significant leadership roles, serving as Vice President of the Society for Social Work and Research, Program Chair for SSWR’s 16th Annual Conference, and was appointed to the advisory committee of the National Association of Social Workers. Last year she was elected Chair of the Asian Caucus of the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD).