Jiyoung Lee Bridging Geospatial Technology and Community Resilience


In an engaging interview, Dr. Jiyoung Lee shares her inspiring journey from South Korea to the United States, her academic pursuits at Louisiana State University (LSU), and her aspirations for the future. Her work elegantly combines geospatial technology, machine learning, and environmental criminology to enhance community resilience.

Journey to LSU

Jiyoung Lee's decision to join LSU was influenced by Dr. Michael Leitner and the funding opportunities available to her as an international student. The allure of LSU's vibrant campus life, good food, and sightseeing spots in Louisiana further solidified her choice.

"I decided to come to LSU because of my advisor and the teaching assistantship I received," Dr. Lee explains. "As an international student, securing funding was crucial."

Hobbies and Comforts

Dr. Lee enjoys watching K-dramas to unwind. This hobby helps her alleviate homesickness by immersing her in the Korean language and culture. Additionally, her favorite comfort foods from South Korea include kimbap and tteokbokki, which she sometimes makes herself when she's unable to find them at local stores.

Academic Milestones and Future Plans

Dr. Lee recently defended her dissertation, earning her doctorate. She is set to begin a postdoctoral position at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, focusing on flood event analysis and urban resilience.

"My research aims to contribute to community resilience," she says. "I want to help people and make a difference in urban areas affected by flooding."

Dr. Lee's dissertation explores the intersection of environmental criminology, geospatial data, and machine learning. She analyzes environmental factors influencing crime events using satellite imagery and Google Street View. Her methodologies involve convolutional neural networks (CNN) and semantic image segmentation to identify crime hotspots and related environmental features.

"I used CNN for image classification to detect crime hotspots," Dr. Lee elaborates. "While the accuracy for crime hotspots was high, the model struggled with non-hotspot areas due to the lack of distinct environmental differences."

Cultural Adjustments and Influences

Dr. Lee's transition from South Korea to the United States was not without its challenges. She was particularly taken aback by the prevalence of guns among students, a stark contrast to her experiences in Korea. The cultural differences in how people dress and interact in public spaces also stood out to her. These personal experiences highlight the human side of her academic journey.

One of Dr. Lee's fondest memories at LSU is a field trip to New Orleans, where she learned about the unique above-ground cemeteries due to the city's low elevation and high water-table. This trip helped highlight cultural and environmental differences between her home country and Louisiana.

Dr. Lee aspires to become a professor, teaching and mentoring future geographers. She aims to instill a love for the places they study, believing that a deep connection to the area can lead to more impactful research and policies.

Reflecting on her academic journey, Dr. Lee advises students to set clear goals and adhere to deadlines, particularly for long-term projects like dissertations. Her experience underscores the importance of time management and persistence.

Dr. Jiyoung Lee's story is one of dedication, cultural adaptation, and academic excellence. Her work at the intersection of technology and geography advances our understanding of environmental criminology and contributes to building more resilient communities. As she embarks on her postdoctoral journey, her passion for research and teaching continues to inspire those around her.