Profile of Faculty in GSEP (5)
Sunkyung Choi, PhD

This article features Sunkyung Choi, specially-appointed associate professor, one of the lecturers in GSEP.

What is GSEP for you?

For me, GSEP is not just simply an educational program that allows students to learn intellectual knowledge and skills in transdisciplinary science and engineering, social sciences, liberal arts, and etc with understanding values in different cultures and background. GSEP is more like an active living thing and an environment that gradually grows with you and changes over time with common visions shared among the members. 

GSEP students are brilliant, creative, passionate and definitely talented in each different way. They are exposed to various challenges and opportunities which make them explore and attempt in various directions. I believe that this eventually brings up each student’s highest potential that you have not ever recognized before. We are certain that our students would not only excel in their competencies but also be devoted to solving problems in society with care and a deep understanding of each other.

I am amazed and indeed very proud of GSEP where faculty and students can build their trust and relationship through learning and extensive support in their student life. Being a part of GSEP also keeps on motivating me to become a better me than yesterday. 

What your role in GSEP? 

The very first role assigned in GSEP was to promote the program and recruit potential students along with 3 other lecturers,  Alvin-sensei, Eden-sensei, and Mehr-sensei as well as senior senseis. After successful promotions and public relations, I also participated in developing some subject curriculum and class timetable for GSEP students. I also take a role in 4 lectures with other professors such as Tokyo Tech’s Visionary Project, Liberal Arts Final Report, Electrical Engineering and Statistics, and Data Analysis. We plan and manage field trip, lunch meeting with faculty and students, and Kanji class for meeting the needs of GSEP students. Recently, I am planning to be involved in a joint study with faculty members within GSEP. 

Could you tell us more about your research?

I have a bachelor’s degree in interior architecture and built environment from Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea. I came to Japan to pursue a master’s and doctoral degree after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake happened. With that in mind, I always had a great interest and care for helping people and wanted to become a global leader in safety and security issues in disasters. Thus, my intellectual curiosity was stimulated to adapt in solving real-world problems through the curriculum provided by the Department of International Development Engineering of Tokyo Institute of Technology. 

Under the supervision of Prof. Shinya Hanaoka, I started developing a research theme and conducted research on the enhancement of airport operation in disasters. It is nevertheless to say the importance of airport operation in the first 72 hours aftermath of disasters where airports’ role as a base for transporting personnel and delivering goods as a point of entry to the affected area.

It seems that the most interesting research areas to me at the moment are airport operation and planning, tourism policies, disaster management. Then, I try to formulate a research problem that is practical for the real-world and also has novelty in academia by integrating the above-mentioned areas.

Along with this research topic on airport operation in disasters, my specialty lies in tourism planning. One topic is about challenges of national tourism statistics and possible integration with big data in Japan. The other is framework development for tourism crisis management regarding information provision and evacuation planning for inbound foreign tourists since they have less language capability, knowledge, understanding, and experience on disasters that are common in a destination.

Recently, I am also collaborating with other researchers from different universities and institutions and formulating the new topic related to regional disperse of inbound foreigners and regional airport operations.

Tell us about your career vision

Regarding career vision, I have several visions in mind at the moment. As a faculty of GSEP, I should actively engage and undertake in GSEP and pursue excellence in research at the same time. I wish our devotion to education and teaching will bring change to GSEP students who could have an influence on society and want to be remembered as “a good teacher” someday. Other than research and education, I want to develop a program or social enterprise later in my career to help children and students in need based on my intellectual knowledge and various intercultural experiences. Lastly, I wish not to lose the value and everlasting starving in learning throughout my life.