Olivia Y. Hu

My name is Olivia, but you can call me Liv. I study race, assortative mating, and family-making at the University of Pennsylvania.

More specifically, my research agenda is motivated by two primary questions:

  • How do individuals come to select long-term committed partners, especially across race and class lines?

  • What happens to people's understanding of social difference after they enter these cross-boundary unions?

My first project, “Racialized Romance: Rethinking Preferences and Opportunities in a Comparative Analysis of East Asian Women’s Mating Outcomes,” examines how social structures, subjective experiences, and culture shape East Asian women’s romantic outcomes. This paper received an Honorable Mention for the 2023 James E. Blackwell Graduate Student Paper Award from the American Sociological Association. It is under review.

My second project is titled “Let’s Talk About Race, Baby: How Interracial and Interethnic Relationships Influence East Asian Women’s Racial Ideologies.” This analysis explores how East Asian women talk to their different-race/-ethnicity partners about race and racism, as well as how these mixed relationships influence their racial ideologies. In 2023, this paper received the Critical Race and Ethnic Studies Outstanding Graduate Student Paper Award from the Society for the Study of Social Problems. It is also currently under review.

For my dissertation (IRB Protocol Number: 852920), I am interviewing East Asian men and women in romantic relationships with individuals from different ethnic or racial backgrounds. I am still recruiting for this study — If you (1) identify as East Asian, (2) live in the United States, and (3) are currently in a romantic relationship with someone of a different ethnic or racial background, I would love to hear about your thoughts and experiences. To check if you're eligible for the study, please take a couple of minutes to fill out this questionnaire.

Lastly, I am spearheading two collaborative projects. With Dr. Alexander Adames, I explore the causal effect of educational attainment and educational prestige on mating outcomes in the online dating market. In collaboration with Dr. Wendy D. Roth and Dr. Xiang Lu, I examine how genetic ancestry test takers conceptualize race (our Ethnic and Racial Studies article is available here).

Prior to beginning my graduate studies, I executed marketing campaigns at UBS Investment Bank and consulted on new CPG and OTC product launches at Nielsen. I received my Bachelor of Science in Sociology and Business Administration from New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business.


M.A., Sociology, University of Pennsylvania, 2022

B.S., Sociology and Business Administration, New York University, 2015 (magna cum laude)

Research Interests
  • Race and Ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Sexualities
  • Family
  • Assortative Mating
  • Culture
  • Social Psychology
  • Asian America
  • Research Methods
Courses Taught

Instructor of Record, Introduction to Sociology, Spring 2024

Instructor of Record, Asian Americans in Contemporary Society, Fall 2023

Teaching Assistant, Media and Popular Culture (Prof. David Grazian), Spring 2023

Teaching Assistant, Introduction to Sociological Methods (Prof. Regina Baker), Spring 2022

Teaching Assistant, Introduction to Sociological Methods (Prof. Melissa Wilde), Fall 2021

Teaching Assistant, Introduction to Sociology (Prof. Jerry Jacobs), Fall 2020

Selected Publications

Hu, Olivia Y.,* Xiang Lu,* and Wendy D. Roth. 2024. “Linking Race and Genes: Racial Conceptualization among Genetic Ancestry Test-Takers.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 47(8):1574–96. doi: 10.1080/01419870.2023.2224871.

* Indicates equal authorship

CV (url)