Dr. Jeong Yang (Faculty)

By University Communications

Wednesday, 07 10 2019

When Dr. Jeong Yang started her journey at A&M-San Antonio, one of the goals she set out to accomplish was to obtain a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant as a principal investigator (PI).  After only a few short years, her milestone came to fruition.  The $249,948 grant from the NSF was the first of its kind for A&M-SA and supports a project designed to increase and retain students in computing and cyber security. As a PI, Dr. Yang leads the project.

“I believe this could already be a legendary achievement in the University’s history,” she said.

Having grown up nearly 7,100 miles away in Kwangju, South Korea, Dr. Yang, is quite the distance from home.  She is the youngest of two sisters and three brothers, and her time spent in South Korea involved witnessing first-hand the effects of the May 18 Gwangju Democratization Movement.  At the time, the president’s military rule led to confrontations in the city of Kwangju. 

“My two brothers were directly related to this movement,” she recalled.  “My high school was in the campus of the university whose students became victims of the movement.  I literally witnessed the societal impacts it caused.”

Dr. Yang began college as soon as her time in high school came to an end, and despite loving mathematics, she decided on a different major.

“I loved math, but when we thought about jobs after earning a bachelor’s degree, the options I had were middle and high school teacher,” she said.  “At the time, those roles sounded pretty boring to me.”

No stranger to a challenge, she decided to tackle computer science. 

“My oldest brother strongly recommended it (computer science).  He had a great sense of foreseeing the future in this case!”

The vital and changing field led her to an array of research interests, many of which coincide with her courses at A&M-San Antonio.

“My research focuses on secure code analysis and visualization in a cloud-based programming environment,” she said.  “There are often many vulnerabilities related to computing and network systems, and there has still been a growing number of attacks in software systems.”

Dr. Yang explained that the key to these attacks is lack of sufficient effort practiced when developing the software.

“When it comes to building reliable and secure software, it is critical that security must be considered throughout the entire software development process,” she reiterated.  “This secure code analysis and its corresponding synchronized visualization provide programmers with much better information concerning data leaks in code, which mitigates risks in their application.”

The language may sound foreign to many, but to Dr. Yang, the ins and outs of computer information systems and software are very much second nature.

“I teach Programming III, which emphasizes the concepts of data structures and algorithms, Discreet Structures for Computing, Analysis of Algorithms, Advanced Topics in Computer Science, and Mobile App Development for Android and Web Platforms. Most of these require strong math background and/or programming skills,” she explained. 

Dr. Yang arrived at A&M-San Antonio believing in the notion that the University, like her students, will continue to dream big.

“The main reason I joined A&M-SA is because it has a big vision for the next decade, and I felt comfortable taking opportunities from a new, visionary audacious university.”

While academia and research are vital in Dr. Yang’s life, she also credits a very important person for helping her to clear her mind when needed.

“I walk about two miles every day with my husband,” she said. “It helps me refresh my brain from pure nonsense that may be happening in life. During the walk, I talk a lot. Thanks to my husband, Dr. Young Lee.  No matter what, he always listens.”