Political Science Prof. Ae sil Woo: Turning Passions into Interactive Simulations for Students

Political Science Prof. Ae sil Woo in her office
Political Science Prof. Ae sil Woo in her office in Glatfelter Hall, where the Political Science Department is located.

Political Science Prof. Ae sil Woo joined our campus community in 2020. She was drawn to teach at Gettysburg College due to the accomplished female scholars in the Political Science Department.

“My colleagues—Prof. Caroline Hartzell, Prof. Lindsay Reid, Prof. Yasemin Akbaba—have done a great job in their field,” Woo explained. “As someone who was entering as a junior scholar, having such accomplished female scholars in the department was a big factor for me.”

Woo has witnessed firsthand how this engaged female presence goes beyond the faculty and applies to Gettysburg College students as well. During her interview process, Woo distinctly remembers meeting with a pair of talented political science students.

“There were two female students who had this aura of energy and curiosity in world politics. I had a really great time with them! That was a huge factor in me coming to Gettysburg College. As it turned out, they became my students,” Woo reflected.

Political Science Prof. Ae sil Woo
Political Science Prof. Ae sil Woo creates immersive simulations for her students so that they can better understand teamwork and problem solving.

To make her courses more intriguing and interactive for students, Woo works to center courses around research topics that she finds compelling. Woo’s academic focus is comparative politics and dictatorships, and she also has a passion for cybersecurity. In POL 270: Government & Politics in China, Woo explores how the Chinese government has engaged in cyberattacks against other nations.

Using this research, Woo devised a simulation for her students where each of them acted as a member of the National Security Council of the United States. They were given a scenario that China cyberattacked the U.S. and increased their military presence in the South China Sea. Students were then tasked to create a plan in response. Through interactive and immersive simulations such as this, students cultivate enduring skills like teamwork and problem solving.

“It’s a fun way to integrate what we have learned, and it’s a fun way to expand from what we have learned as well,” Woo said. “By combining my own personal interests with the course, I have increased my passion for the course. When I have that passion, I hope my students will have more fun in the course.”

Learn more about the intriguing and interactive courses offered by the Political Science Department at Gettysburg College.

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