“Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.” ― PAULO FREIRE

Joonmo (He, him, his) is a PhD candidate in social work at the Brown School and a McDonnell International Academy Scholar Fellow.

Joonmo’s research revolves around environmental justice and social vulnerability. His specific interests are twofold: 1) social vulnerability and resilience of marginalized communities to climate change-related disasters, and 2) the role of social work practice and policy to support and advocate for vulnerable groups affected by the changing natural environment. Joonmo’s overarching career goal is becoming a scholar-activist committed to community-engaged research that builds bridges between the academy and communities, advocating for social work practice and policy that advance environmental justice, and mentoring students to become social workers who will translate knowledge into justice-oriented action.

He recently received Korea Safety Health Environment (SHE) Foundation’s research fellowship, Brown School’s International Dissertation Award, and Korean American Social Work Educators Association’s (KASWEA) Dissertation Proposal Award for his dissertation.

His dissertation, “The Vulnerability of a Poor Urban Neighborhood to Extreme Weather and Disasters and the Role of Ecosocial Work,” is an ethnography of the vulnerability of one of the most impoverished communities in Seoul, Korea to disasters (e.g., extreme weather, COVID-19). He spent a full year doing ethnographic fieldwork to understand how community members make meaning of disasters, how disasters impact their livelihoods, and what social work practices and policies are in place to help them.

Research Interests:
Climate change & climate justice, Ecosocial work, Environmental justice; Ethnography; Political ecology; Qualitative research

Email: joonmokang@wustl.edu