Soo-yong Byun headshot in blue button-down shirt
Published on: Apr 19, 2021

Penn State College of Education faculty, staff and students who have made compelling and momentous contributions to their chosen fields or majors over the past year were honored April 15 at the college’s virtual spring appreciation and awards ceremony.

Winners were selected through nomination letters inspired by their exceptional commitment to their jobs.

The Outstanding Senior Faculty Researcher Award, which recognizes the overall impact of one’s research and is typically given to a faculty member who has achieved national and international recognition, this year goes to Gail Boldt and Soo-yong Byun.

Boldt is professor of language and literacy education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. Over the course of her career, she evolved and expanded her research. She defines herself as a curriculum theorist with interests in literacies, elementary and early childhood education; identity and post-identity; childhood studies; cultural studies; and disability studies. 

For the past 10 years, Gail has led a reading group with faculty and graduate students from across the University Park campus.

Allison Henward, associate professor of early childhood education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, said Boldt over her 30-year career “continually produced groundbreaking scholarship that has propelled researchers and practitioners alike to reconsider and rethink universalized notions of gender, child development, appropriate teaching practices and the ways in which literacy is performed and enacted in context.”

Byun, associate professor of educational theory and policy and SSRI cofunded faculty member, currently serves as the professor-in-charge of Penn State's Comparative and International Education Program. He is affiliated with the Center on Rural Education and Communities as a research associate, with the Center for Evaluation and Educational Policy Analysis as a senior researcher, and with the Population Research Institute as a research affiliate.

“Byun uses cutting-edge statistical analyses to better understand the factors leading to student success in school. His research aims to discern how schools operate differently around the world, and to gain fundamental insights into the policies that influence student success and equity in school outcomes,” said Katerina Bodovski, associate professor of educational theory and policy.