Headshot of Soo-yong Byun with dark hair wearing circular glasses and a light-blue dress shirt.

Soo-yong Byun, Ph.D.


Dr. Byun is an associate professor (with tenure) of Educational Theory and Policy program in the Department of Education Policy Studies (EPS) in the College of Education with a joint appointment with the Social Science Research Institute (SSRI) as a co-funded faculty at the Pennsylvania State University. He is also a core faculty member 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 at Penn State. In addition, He is currently serving as the organizer for the Sociology of Education Working Group at Penn State. He was named as one of 17 rising alumni by the University of Minnesota's College of Education and Human Development in 2017. Prior to joining the EPS faculty in 2012, he worked as a postdoctoral scholar at the National Research Center on Rural Education Support housed within the Center for Developmental Science in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2008-2011), and as a research associate and survey/psychometric specialist for the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA)'s Teacher Education Study in Mathematics (TEDS-M) in the College of Education at Michigan State University (2007-2008). He received his Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Administration (Comparative and International Development Education track) from the University of Minnesota at Twin Cities in 2007. He was named as one of 17 rising alumni by the University of Minnesota's College of Education and Human Development in 2017. He was the president of the Korean American Educational Researchers Association (KAERA) for 2017-2018. His scholarly interests include sociology of education, international comparative education, rural education, and educational policy analysis and program evaluation. The articles of his have been published in leading peer-reviewed journals, including American Educational Research Journal, Comparative Education Review, and Sociology of Education. He has served on multiple editorial and advisory boards, including American Journal of Education, Research in the Sociology of Education, and Sociology of Education.

Research Interests

Sociology of Education; Comparative Education; Educaitonal Policy Analysis and Program Evaluation; Rural Education


  • Ph.D., Educational Policy and Administration, University of Minnesota, 2007
  • M.A., Sociology of Education, Korea University, 2003
  • B.A., Education, Minor in English Education, Korea University, 2001