Youmi Suk, Educational Psychology

Where are you from, and what brought you to UW–Madison? Youmi Suk

I’m from South Korea. I joined the Quantitative Methods program in the Department of Educational Psychology at UW–Madison, because the program is one of the best programs in the U.S.

Why did you decide to pursue graduate study?

I decided to start my graduate career because I not only like exploring unsolved questions about methodological issues in the educational, social, and behavioral sciences, but also applying and connecting quantitative models to real-life situations to address practical and important problems.

What are your research interests?

My research interests center on causal inference and multilevel modeling. During the PhD program, I have primarily studied how to measure treatment effects with multilevel observational data. My current investigations focus on designing machine learning methods to estimate causal effects in clustered data, developing machine-learning-based causal inference methods that are robust to unmeasured confounding, and proposing a regression discontinuity design with an ordinal running variable.

What was your most meaningful experience at UW–Madison?

My most meaningful experience during the PhD program is becoming an independent researcher and learning more about myself. I’m proficient at developing a research idea and a research design, conducting simulations and analyzing data, and writing a paper. Also, I now better understand what is important in my life.

What class or professor had the greatest impact on you, and why?

My key research interest is causal inference. I made a first-year research project on causal inference with Jee-Seon Kim, and I have broadened and deepened my understanding of causal inference under the directions of Hyunseung Kang and Peter Steiner who give me creative and scientific inspiration.

What advice would you give to incoming students?

Be yourself, be together, and be honest. Graduate students including myself will face various situations that make us frustrated and uncertain. Keep physically and mentally healthy by increasing your self-esteem and getting support from your friends and family. Also, keep in mind that cheats never prosper. Be honest in your academic work and about yourself!

How will you celebrate your graduation?

I’ll take photos with my friends on campus or at other meaningful places in Madison. Importantly, I’ll get a break.

You’re a UW–Madison expert now, so we must ask: What is one thing every UW student should experience?

You should go to the Terrace at Memorial Union, have fried cheese curds that I believe are best paired with beer, and enjoy jazz music there!

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