by Teresa Lynch
When Byungho Park was considering the locations where he could spend his sabbatical from the the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), there was one big thing on his mind. Toys. Of course, the “toys” Byungho was looking forward to are housed at Telecom’s Institute for Communication Research (ICR) in Eigenmann Hall and come in the way of Coulbourn Stacks and physiological sensors, but that’s just semantics.
Byungho is well-versed with the equipment and facilities available here because he completed his doctoral studies at IU, earning his Ph.D. in Telecommunications in 2006. After completing his doctorate, Byungho held a faculty position for two years at the National University of Singapore before moving back to his hometown of Seoul with the faculty position he now holds. Byungho describes KAIST as being more like MIT than IU – the college closest to social sciences on his campus is the College of Business, where he teaches courses on the psychology of advertising and the media consumer.
While his teaching now primarily focuses on the business concerns of media, Byungho is looking forward to doing research more in line with what he was doing here prior to his return to Asia. An added benefit of a sabbatical in Bloomington is that he doesn’t have to waste any time learning new facilities or adjusting to a whole new group of people. In particular he’s excited to be reunited with his three mentors: Annie Lang, Rob Potter, and Julie Fox.
That’s not to say that Byungho hasn’t had to readjust a bit to life in Bloomington. He jokingly says “the U.S. is a boring heaven and Seoul is an exciting hell.” And Bloomington has changed since he left. For one thing, “there’s a Macy’s here now.” He’s also pleased to see the new developments on campus, noting that the School of Informatics and Computing has grown, there are new dorms on his commute to Eigenmann, and there are lots of new faces in the Telecom department. His experience here too is now different. He’s no longer a student. He and his wife have two children enrolled in the local school system for the year he’ll be visiting. And he’s keeping himself very busy with research.
One thing that he’s hoping to make time for, though, are the TV shows that got him through his Ph.D. He’s an avid Star Wars and Star Trek fan. He also describes himself as a former crime drama addict; loving the original CSI, all of the Law and Orders, and Numbers. He had even hoped to one day use Numbers for social science and statistics examples for his students, though he hasn’t quite made that work yet. For the moment, he finds himself too immersed in his work to get back to religiously watching crime dramas, but he hopes that soon enough he’ll be settled in to get back to them. And, hopefully, he will find himself with enough time to enjoy being back at his alma mater with old friends and old toys.