After studying nursing at the Catholic University of Korea, Jinhee Park, Ph.D., RN, spent three and a half years working as a neonatal nurse in Seoul, South Korea. While she was in the NICU, she saw preterm infants who had difficulty feeding, and she became determined to research ways to improve their outcomes. “Most people think feeding is simple, but it is very complex for a preterm infant,” Park says.

That interest ultimately led her to the United States, where she received a doctoral degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2012. She wrote her dissertation on the best feeding positions for preterm infants, exploring findings that suggest that lying preemies on one side leads to better outcomes than feeding them while they are held upright. As a postdoctoral student at Duke University, Park coauthored “Relationship between Developmental Trajectory of Sleep-Wake States and Feeding Progression in Preterm Infants,” an abstract that posits that delayed sleep-wake state development may be linked to feeding problems and that interventions may be necessary to improve the sleep environment. The abstract earned an award at the 2014 Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science’s State of the Science Congress on Nursing Research.

Park comes to Boston College as a tenure-track assistant professor, and she plans to continue her research about the feeding challenges of preterm infants. She is a firm believer in active learning, she says, and plans to build a bridge between clinical practice and academics in her classroom.

—Patti Hartigan, photograph by Lee Pellegrini