Dr. Park is passionate about perceptions of racial and religious minorities and the experiences that these minorities, especially Asian Americans, face. His earlier work looked at two topic areas: 1) religion in civic life and 2) the racial and religious identities among Asian Americans. The first topic included studies in volunteering behavior, attitudes toward science, and attitudes toward work and the workplace. The second topic included research in panethnic identity salience, ethnic and racial friendships, racial stereotypes (including the model minority myth), and perceptions of discrimination (especially Muslim discrimination). Studying both topics involved data collection including the Baylor Religion Surveys (five waves), an online survey of fulltime workers, two online surveys of Amazon Mechanical Turk respondents, and two surveys of Asian Americans (one focused on Asian and Pacific Islander Catholics, and one on Asian American registered voters). Over the years he has also conducted a number of face-to-face qualitative interviews to produce mixed method studies of his research questions.
Dr. Park received his undergraduate degree in psychology with a minor in sociology at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA and pursued graduate education (both his master’s and PhD) at the University of Notre Dame in the department of sociology. He came to Baylor University in 2004 where he has been pursuing his scholarly interest of the intersection of race and religion. He has published 27 peer-reviewed academic research papers (eight with Baylor graduate students, five from other institutions), 14 chapters, reports (with 11 Baylor graduate student co-authors), and encyclopedia entries, and 20 book reviews. One of his recent papers “Exceptional Outgroup Stereotypes and White Racial Inequality Attitudes Toward Asian Americans” (Social Psychology Quarterly, 2015) was featured on the Education Writers Association which was reposted on The Atlantic. He has won over $400,000 in external grant monies from various sources, most notably from the National Science Foundation. He has chaired four dissertations, eight master’s theses, and eight undergraduate Honors theses. He remains active in academic societies (currently on the council for the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion and the Asia & Asian American section of the American Sociological Association, presents papers at conferences, and serves as journal reviewer for numerous academic journals. He was an associate editor for the journal Sociology of Religion, and since 2017 serves as associate editor for The Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion and serves on the editorial board of Social Psychology Quarterly.
Currently Dr. Park is completing several studies, three of which are with undergraduate students. These focus on white stereotypes of minority groups and their attitudes toward racial inequality as well as American stereotypes of Muslims and Middle Eastern immigrants. Other studies include: a theory of intergenerational religious assimilation among Asian Americans; an examination of the factors associated with perceived religious and atheist threat; attitudinal differences between racial groups in American Christianity; a theory of perceived anti-Muslim discrimination. He is also completing a book manuscript on second-generation Asian American ethnic and religious identities, and working toward a study of Asian American attitudes about upward mobility, and an expansion of the National Congregations Study to include an oversample of predominantly Asian American religious communities (Buddhist, Catholic, Hindu, Muslim, Protestant, Sikh).
While research remains Dr. Park’s primary passion, it is fueled largely by the opportunity to teach and write for a broader public. He regularly teaches the Sociology of Race and Ethnicity to upper-division undergraduates, as well as graduate seminars on Culture, Identity and Religion; Race, Gender and Religion; and how to write for publication in sociology. This latter class has been an important opportunity to formalize his ideas about mentorship in graduate study. Preparing the next generation of PhDs to be the best scholars remains a constant theme in his interactions with the students in the program.
In his spare time, Dr. Park might be found reading comic books, catching up on science fiction media (from Dr. Who to Star Trek to Star Wars) and enjoying time with his wife Christina and their son.