Dr. Kim Loves Working With A Community At LSI That Is Motivated By Making An Impact

June 5, 2024

By Larissa Martins, LSI Communications Assistant

Dr. Youngran Kim discovered the Learning Systems Institute at Florida State University through her work with USAID in Kenya. Years later, she now works with LSI, joining the institute as a research faculty member.

“I learned about different USAID programs across different countries, and I saw how LSI is one of the major players,” said Dr. Kim. “LSI was overseeing and implementing many different projects, so it has a very famous name in international education and development.”

Born and raised in South Korea, Dr. Kim’s lifelong passion for education was deeply influenced by her upbringing. Growing up, she heard stories of her grandparents’ hardships during the Korean War. She also experienced firsthand how education was a key factor in enhancing the lives of her and her parents’ generations. Noticing how the government’s prioritization of education led to significant economic development and improved living standards in her country piqued her interest in development work."Dr. Kim posing outdoors."

“Education gave me the opportunity to become the person that I wanted to be,” stated Dr. Kim. “It paved the way for me to achieve my dreams and also gave me a goal to pursue in my life.”

Having earned her Doctorate in Educational Policy with a specialization in the Economics of Education and worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Kentucky, Dr. Kim is an expert at analyzing education programs to see how they affect student academic and labor market outcomes.

At LSI, Dr. Kim utilizes her expertise in quantitative methods to analyze data for education program evaluations. Specifically, she employs econometrics to help identify the causal impacts of program and policy intervention. She was thrilled to discover an open position at LSI that aligned with her background and was certain LSI would help her achieve her career goals.

“I wanted to contribute toward building better education systems and informing policy or program decisions through vigorous research and LSI gives me the exact opportunity to do that,” said Dr. Kim.

Dr. Kim is working on a report that identifies the impact of the Florida Tax Credit (FTC) program. The FTC program provides scholarships for eligible students from low-income families to attend private schools of their choice, aiming to expand educational options. This is the ninth consecutive year LSI has been selected as the independent research organization responsible for conducting the program’s annual evaluation, as mandated by state law.

As Dr. Kim continues her work with LSI, she is excited to continue evaluating how state-level education programs and interventions affect student outcomes. She hopes her rigorous research can help inform future policy directions, and she appreciates the opportunity LSI provides for faculty to engage across various educational domains and to pursue work that interests them. She also loves being a part of a work community that is motivated by the impact they make.

“I really enjoy working with them [LSI faculty] because I feel we are driven by the same goal of providing better education for disadvantaged students,” stated Dr. Kim.