Dr. Song crunches numbers

Big data, big research and a big heart combine to make a big impact

Dr. Juyoung Song, assistant professor of administration of justice, is impacting her field in a big way.
By: Susan C. Andrews

Whether writing a book or paper, teaching class, crunching numbers, presenting at conferences or mentoring students, Dr. Juyoung Song, assistant professor of administration of justice, is impacting her field.

Having just returned from the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences conference in New Orleans, she speaks highly of the four Penn State Schuylkill students who also attended the conference as either panelists or presenters. “They did a wonderful job and were very professional. It was a great experience for them as undergraduates to discuss their work and actively participate in such a prestigious conference.”

Song, both a presenter and a panelist at the conference, researches a range of topics on juvenile and criminal justice. “Research in these areas can be used by policy makers to help address juvenile delinquency issues. More than an increase in delinquency, we are seeing activities by juveniles that are harsher. I hope that my research will help those immersed in risky situations find a way out.”

Song has conducted in-depth research into topics such as bullying, cyberbullying and sexting by mining and analyzing big data. In some cases, she said, the ones bullied in person can become the ones who cyberbully once out of the public eye and behind the secrecy of their computer.

“Three types of groups can be studied in a bullying situation: traditional bullies, victims and bystanders. The bystanders are in the position to take action and be change makers.” Currently working on this project, Song is mining and analyzing 5 billion anonymous posts—demonstrating the power of social big data.

As direct communication on social media platforms with those who may be in need is not possible due to the anonymous nature of the posts and privacy laws and regulations, Song said, “It is my aim and that of my colleagues to analyze data that helps inform policy development and leads to early intervention before crimes are committed.”

Another research area of interest to Song is comparative criminology. She has published on the topic of depression and suicide in South Korea, which she said is in large part due to parental pressure to achieve good grades and pursue a career as a doctor, lawyer or other professional. “I am interested in comparing my findings with youth in South Korea with those in the United States.”

Song’s early interest in criminal justice and thesis was on the topic of underage prostitution among female youth in South Korea.

Her fourth and most recent book, “Crime Prediction Using Big Data,” was published this year in Korean with plans underway for an English translation.

Other presentations given by Song include numerous national and international conferences, including the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme Network in Vienna, and in Mexico City at the International Conference of Governance, Crime and Justice Statistics Program.

Two of the four Penn State Schuylkill students attending the conference worked on their research under the guidance of Dr. Hakan Can, associate professor of administration of justice. Can and Song co-presented their research on “Predictors of Stress and Conflict in Close Relationships of Correctional Officers” at the 2017 American Society of Criminology.

Song praises Can as a great researcher and scholar. “I have benefitted tremendously from his support and mentorship.”