iSchool Welcomes New UX Faculty
The School of Information and the College of Communication and Information are pleased to introduce the newest member of the iSchool faculty, Dong Whi Yoo, who assumes the role of Assistant Professor in User Experience.
Professor Yoo joins us from Georgia Tech where he recently earned his Ph.D. in Human-Centered Computing. He also served as a visiting scientist at Northwell Health to explore the design space of artificial intelligence in healthcare contexts.
Originally from Cheonan, South Korea (a one-hour drive from Seoul), he discovered a fascination with computers and the worlds they create when playing Super Mario 64, Nintendo's first full 3D Super Mario video game at the age of 10. Of this experience, Professor Yoo said, "I was amazed that there were no clear boundaries between where the player could go and what was just background. If you saw a river, you could just jump in and swim around! It was a magical experience. Since then, I've often wondered how we could expand that magical space beyond the screen."
Professor Yoo received his undergraduate degree in business administration from Seoul National University, but he never lost his fascination with computers and how we interact with them. He lived in Seoul until 2016, where he studied and received his M.F.A. in Media Arts from Yonsei University, then moved to Atlanta in 2016 to pursue his M.S. in Human-Computer Interaction at Georgia Tech.
After completing his master's degree (which is very closely aligned in its academic focus with the User Experience program in the iSchool here), Professor Yoo developed a strong interest in mentoring the next generation of UX professionals, which is part of what drew him to CCI and the iSchool. "I worked for several years as a media artist," he explained. "While media arts primarily uses the language of the visual arts, it also encompasses a wide range of communication, media and design theories. My training in media arts has equipped me to engage in interdisciplinary collaborations across multiple disciplines. I'm intrigued by CCI's interdisciplinary vision. It resonates with my academic background and interests."
But before he came to CCI, Professor Yoo received his Ph.D. in Human-Centered Computing, during which he worked as a research intern at Meta and Mayo Clinic. He has conducted interdisciplinary research bridging human-computer interaction (HCI), computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW) and digital mental health. He specifically focuses on understanding design requirements for AI-enabled tools in mental health care. His work has been published in premier HCI and mental health venues, such as CHI, CSCW, JMIR Mental Health and Internet Intervention.
When he is not teaching or doing research, Professor Yoo enjoys walking dogs at shelters. Not a dog person originally, he says, "I started this activity because I thought it would give me some exercise and screen-free time. It turned out to be much more than just exercise and screen time. I've become fascinated with the resilience and positivity of dogs. I've started volunteering at One of A Kind Pet Rescue, and I'm open to other dog walking volunteer opportunities!"