Soobin Kim

Soobin Kim (she/her/hers) is a doctoral candidate in the School of Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh. She received her MSW (2017) and BA in Social Work with highest honors (2015) at Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea. Through her research and practice experiences in South Korea, she worked with individuals and families residing in low-income neighborhoods and social work agencies engaging with these populations. She also created national philanthropy education programs for diverse age groups, contributing to promoting philanthropic culture in Korea. Currently, Soobin is working on the Pittsburgh Wage Study, which investigates the economic well-being, family dynamics, and health of low-paid healthcare workers in Western Pennsylvania.

Soobin’s research interests span economic and social inequality, health disparities, family well-being, and social policy. Her motivation lies in comprehensively understanding the challenges faced by economically and socially marginalized individuals, considering their multifaceted contexts such as family, school, workplace, community, and neighborhood, alongside the influence of social policy and social forces. Her work is anchored in two key themes: (1) identifying and addressing structural barriers that hinder marginalized populations' access to improved socioeconomic opportunities and healthier lives, and (2) exploring protective/risk factors impacting the well-being of underrepresented populations, including lower-wage workers who may be nominally middle class but still face significant challenges making ends meet. Ultimately, her aim is to inform policy development that enhances the well-being of marginalized populations.

Research Interests

  • Economic and social inequality
  • Health disparities
  • Family well-being
  • Social policy

Selected Publications

  • Kim, S., Thyberg, C., Engel, R., Wexler, S., & Woo, J. (Forthcoming). Does working full- time guarantee hospital service workers' material well-being?: A latent class regression analysis. Social Work Research
  • Wexler, S., Kim, S., Engel, R., Woo, J., & Shook, J. (2023). Can workers and their families live on a living wage? The Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare, 50(4), Article 3.
  • Kim, S., Kang. C., & Engel, R. (2022). What convinces donors? An analysis of donation- based crowdfunding projects from nonprofit charities: The case of South Korea. Nonprofit Management & Leadership, 32(4), 627-649.

Selected Conference Presentations

  • Kim, S. (January 2024). Diverging trajectories of child externalizing behavior by family economic status at birth: The mediating role of neighborhood. Poster presentation at the 28th annual meeting of the Society for Social Work and Research. Washington, DC.
  • Kim, S. (November 2023). A multifaceted perspective: Family poverty at birth, neighborhood disadvantage, and child behavioral development. Poster presentation at the 45th annual program meeting of the Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management. Atlanta, GA.
  • Kim, S. (November 2021). A latent class analysis of essential workers’ hardships: Effects of wages, public benefits, and demographics. Poster presentation at the 43rd annual program meeting of the Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management. Austin, TX. (Postponed to March 2022 due to COVID-19)
  • Kim, S., Woo, J., Shook, J., Ballentine, K., Goodkind, S., Engel, R., & Wexler, S. (January 2020). Is $15 enough? Understanding the struggles of low wage workers. Paper presentation at the 24th annual meeting of the Society for Social Work and Research. Washington, DC.

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