Soonhwan was raised in Siheung, South Korea. His subfield is comparative politics and political methodology. Specifically, his academic interest is democracy, political economy, and environmental-energy politics. He earned B.A. in international studies at Kyung Hee University with magna cum laude and M.A. in political science at Yonsei University with an excellent thesis award. During his M.A. program, he participated in research projects related to the decision-making process in climate change and Sustainable Development Goals policy.