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MAEC Internship – Hwa Pyung Yoo

Meet Hwa Pyung Yoo, Data and Evaluation Intern! We have been lucky to have a thriving internship program with dedicated, enthusiastic interns who share our passion for education equity. We recently sat down with Hwa to learn more about his commitment to education equity and his highlights as an intern at MAEC.

Tell us about yourself!

My name is Hwa Pyung, which means “maker of peace” in Korean. I was born in Seoul but moved to the United States when I was 7. I attended Villanova University (class of 2019) for my Bachelor’s degree and studied Cognitive Behavioral Neuroscience and Political Science with a minor in Educational Policy.  

I’ve always loved working with children: even in elementary school, I began ‘volunteering’ at church nurseries, public libraries, and our school daycare centers out of this desire to spend time with kids. My passion for education emerged from this love for children. Studying Neuroscience and Political Science offered me a way to align my interest in system-level thinking, bridging research on early childhood development with education policies. After graduating, I taught in Spain and South Korea before entering graduate school.  

Currently, I am pursuing a Master’s in International Development at Sciences Po Paris while interning with MAEC. Given my experiences as a third culture kid, my area of interest is in international education. My previous research experiences have included contributions to the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index; a cross-cultural evaluation of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme; youth activism; and UNESCO’s Education For All. Prior to MAEC, I worked in a research consultancy specializing in education programs and policies in the context of forced displacement and migration, collaborating with clients such as Education Commission, UNHCR, and Aga Khan Foundation.  

Outside of school, I also serve as the co-director of Enspire Korea, a non-profit which provides free arts-based English education for students from disadvantaged backgrounds in Seoul, and I love engaging all forms of arts – whether photography, music, theatre, or painting. 

Why do you choose to work in education equity?

Growing up in a family that moved nearly every year exposed me to a wide range of educational environments. I’ve experienced firsthand the ways in which sociocultural contexts can make or break a child’s learning experience, both in and out of schools. Education equity for me has always been as much a professional commitment as it is a personal necessity. 

What does education equity mean to you?

The social and material opportunity to love and be loved for all children. 

What do you do as an intern at MAEC?

As a Data & Evaluation Intern, I largely support qualitative data analysis. This means that I have the chance to read through the testimonies and accounts offered by students, parents, teachers, and administrators and to search for themes that might emerge. Most recently, I had the opportunity to contribute to the MCPS Antiracist System Audit by delving into the focus group discussions, community conversations, and surveys, and articulating some of the findings through the report. 

What has been a highlight of your experience at MAEC so far?

Witnessing how willing the colleagues here are to acknowledge each other’s contributions!  

How do you see this internship factoring into your work after MAEC?

I hope to pursue a PhD in education policy in the future so having the chance to engage diverse evaluation methods offers me an invaluable opportunity to continue building foundational knowledge on the matter. Working on the MCPS Antiracist System Audit also provided a tremendous opportunity to refine my understanding of systems of change. Additionally, being surrounded by work that allows us to continually challenge and discuss frameworks of equity will undoubtedly guide my approach to educational research moving forward! 


The MAEC blog is designed to engage hearts and minds of school and district leaders across the country to engage in issues that you have identified as being essential in education. Opinions do not necessarily reflect the views of the organization.

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