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CCI PhD Graduate Spotlight: Sejin Park, PhD

Sejin ParkBackground Information

Sejin Park graduated with a Ph.D. from the College of Communication and Information with a concentration in Advertising and Public Relations. Before joining CCI, he served in the Republic of Korea Army; as a public affairs officer, he communicated and built relationships with army publics. In 2009, the Korean government selected Sejin for a scholarship to fund his graduate education. He earned a master’s degree in public relations from CCI and then returned to South Korea to apply communication theories to his military career. Sejin’s fascination for research brought him back to CCI to complete his Ph.D.

What is next for you?

I am now a captain in the Republic of Korea Army. Eventually, I would like to be a professor at a research school. As a scholar, my research agenda includes developing effective message strategies for military crises and exploring factors that affect military-public relationships. I am also interested in identifying variables that impact military advertising and developing communication strategies for military ads.

What did you gain from CCI?

CCI is a top-tier research program and an excellent environment for students. I had the opportunity to gain academic knowledge and practical experience. My research interests encompass crisis communication, military-public relationship, and military advertising.  My dissertation explored crisis preparedness and audience perspectives during crisis. During my time in the CCI program, though, I worked on more than 10 research projects. Also, I taught several courses and learned to be an effective teacher and mentor to students.

What courses/instructors were most influential in your doctoral program?
CCI faculty members are not just teachers or professors: They are also mentors and friends. For international students, tangible and intangible support from faculty is important. In that regard, CCI was the best option for me. While I collaborated with several CCI scholars, I want to highlight a project with my advisor Dr. Elizabeth Avery Foster. We conducted an eye-tracking study using the CCI lab equipment to explore the effects of fear visuals on perceptions and behavioral intentions. Major communication journals are reviewing papers from the project. Also, I took courses from professors in other fields. Learning about their research helped me develop new research ideas.

What is your advice for future PhD students?

If you are a CCI doctoral student, be proud of yourself because you were selected among talented people. A Ph.D. is hard work, but remain positive and you will survive. Finally, remember to take some time for yourself to relax.


I developed strong relationships with my cohort members. They have been wonderful supporters and will be life-long friends. Also, I continue to work on several research projects with UT faculty members. They will be my mentors forever.   


Prepared by the 2016-2017 CCI Spotlight Task Force: Lindsey Bier, LaVerne Gray, Abhijit Mazumdar, and Whitney Tipton