Dr. Ja Young Hwang received her Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Design degrees in fashion design from Kookmin University, Seoul, Korea. In 2013, she received her Doctor of Philosophy degree in apparel merchandising and design at Iowa State University. She first started her teaching career in 2006. Prior to joining Kent State University, she served as an assistant professor at the University of Arkansas, teaching undergraduate and graduate advanced product development courses and the CAD patternmaking software OptiTex.
Her primary research focuses on groups of fashion designers. Her central purpose is to investigate the relationships among fashion designers' cultural values, personal experiences and creativity, and the way these apply to their creative design work. Her design projects explore how a culture's philosophy and symbolism are embedded in the creative design process and final product. Her secondary research projects in the category of human-centered design are focused on conveying apparel design expertise to underrepresented and specialized populations.