Faculty Recognition – Interview with Sion Yoon

Hee Jung (Sion) Yoon, Ph.D. is an Associate Faculty at the City University of Seattle. She earned her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Health Informatics and Health Information Management at the University of Washington with minors in Geography, Environmental Studies, and Diversityand a Master’s degree and a Ph.D. degree in Information & Communication Engineering at DGIST. Before joining the City University of Seattle, she was a postdoctoral researcher in the Cyber-Physical Systems Global Center at DGIST. She has published a couple of patents and over 30+ full and short papers. With Sion and one of her research projects was featured on the Canada Discovery Channel. Her research interest focused on designing and developing surveillance applications for vulnerable people such as the elderly, patients, and children using the 3D depth camera. Examples of the projects that she worked on include fall detection and prevention for elderly individuals, aggressive behavior recognition for dementia patients, and child vs. adult classification for children’s safety. She has also collaborated on various healthcare projects such as automatic cell-counting, asthma ecosystem, heart rate detection, stress detection, biometric gait identification, as well as other topics such as zone-based temperature control and metro scheduling. 

At City, Sion teaches the following courses: Data Structures (CS 469), Technology Capstone (CS 497)Introduction to Cloud Computing (CS 519)C++ for Programmers (CS 555), Computer Science Capstone (CS 687), IT Compliance (IS 472), System Administration for Information Security (ISEC 505), Ethical Obligations in Information Security (ISEC 520), and DS 510: Artificial Intelligence for Data Science (DS 510). 

Radana:  Sion, congratulation on your research & publications! I am impressed that you were featured on the Discovery Channel! And thank you for agreeing to be interviewed for the STC Thursday ByteLets start off by telling us about your career path that brought you to where you are today. 

Sion:  Thank you, Dr. Dvorak. I first started by volunteering in the Health Information Management department of a Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup, WA, where I decided to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Health Informatics and Health Information Management. After graduating, I got an opportunity to continue further education in Information & Communication Engineering graduate program in South Korea. Through the master’s program, I found that I was very interested in Cyber-Physical Systems research, focusing omachine learning techniques for smart home and healthcare applications. After pursuing a master’s degree, I continued my education through the doctoral program in which, during the process, I got the privilege to collaborate with various researchers on fascinating projects. Thereafter, I spent about a year as a postdoctoral researcher and joined CityU almost two years ago. 

Radana: Whats one thing you wish you had known when you began your career? 

Sion: To not be fearful of challenges and to be kind to myself. It took some time for me to understand that being scared and anxious about what is ahead makes it harder to move forward. 

Radana:  Sion, so many young women are fearful of challenges – thank you for sharing this. My call out to all young women is to be fearless. How do you continue to learn in order to stay on top of things within your current role/area of expertise? 

Sion: I like to stay on top of things by reading current research papers on trending topics from top conferences/journals. 

Radana: What are some of the things youre researching and/or learning right now? 

Sion:  There are some technical knowledge and skills that I didntouch on during my studies, and whenever I have time, I like to catch up on learning the materials. 

Radana: We hear about success, but I think it is more powerful for our readers to hear you talk about your biggest failure (which I prefer to call the biggest lesson); can you tell us about it, and what you learned from it? 

Sion: While in graduate school, I went through a number of rejections on paper submissions, and spent a lot of time wondering why I didn’t succeed each time I failedAfter many failures, I realized that it was an opportunity to learn, grow, and achieve new understanding. I learned that failures are part of the journey toward success and that it is essential to take them as stepping stones to improve and shape myself for the better. 

Radana: So true and what a great lesson to learn early on in your career. What advice would you give someone wanting to pursue a career similar to yours? 

Sion: There are times when the journey ahead may not seem easy, but strength comes with patience and persistence. 

Radana:  Great advice! What are the best resources that have helped you along the way? 

Sion: The people around me, including family, friends, mentors, and professors, made significant impact in every step along the way. 

Radana: What is the one common myth about your profession or field that you want to debunk? 

Sion: That all research results in breakthroughs. The vast majority of research takes only small steps forward. 

Radana: So true! What have you read or listened to recently that inspired you?  

Sion: The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World by Melinda Gates. 

Radana: I have that on my reading list – thanks for reminding me to start reading it. Where can our students connect with you online? 

Sion: You can find updates on my publications on Google Scholar Citations under my official name “Hee Jung Yoon”. 

Radana: Thank you Sion for taking the time to be interviewed and thank you for sharing valuable information that will no doubt help our students on their career path! 

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