NaYoung Hwang holds a PhD in Education from the University of California, Irvine. Her research focus includes inequality in education and educational policy. NaYoung has worked on school discipline, growth mindset, teacher diversity, and student-teacher relationships. NaYoung's work has been published in Educational Researcher, American Education Research Journal, and Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis.
As an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher in her native South Korea, NaYoung was able to witness firsthand the influence of socioeconomic background on a child’s English language achievement and, ultimately, educational prospects. In addition, by teaching English to adult professionals, she observed the crucial influence of one’s childhood access to language education on her/his future employment opportunities in English-obsessed Korea. These experiences, combined with her work as a volunteer teacher in Korean orphanages, spurred NaYoung’s interest in the impact of education on social stratification.
NaYoung is now an assistant professor in the Education Department at the University of New Hampshire, where she explores policies and methods that can improve the abilities and prospects of children from underprivileged backgrounds. Her current project centers on student-teacher familiarity, a test-based grade retention policy, and co-teaching practice.