Olivia Y. Hu

Hi! My name is Olivia, but you can call me Liv. I’m a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Sociology. My work focuses on race, assortative mating, and family-making. 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 individuals' understandings of social difference after they enter these cross-boundary unions?

I am currently recruiting participants for my dissertation project (IRB Protocol Number: 852920). If you're currently in a romantic relationship with someone of a different ethnic or racial background and you identify as East Asian, I would like 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.

Moreover, I’m 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 (GAT) takers conceptualize race. You can read our paper in Ethnic and Racial Studies 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
  • Immigration
  • Family
  • Assortative Mating
  • Multiracial Identities
  • Asian America
  • Gender and Sexualities
  • Research Methods
Courses Taught

Teaching Experience

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


Teaching Awards

The Penn Prize for Excellence in Teaching by Graduate Students, 2022


Teaching Certifications

Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) Teaching Certificate, 2022

Selected Publications

Hu, Olivia Y.*, Xiang Lu*, and Wendy D. Roth. 2023. “Linking Race and Genes: Racial Conceptualization among Genetic Ancestry Test-Takers.” Ethnic and Racial Studies. doi: 10.1080/01419870.2023.2224871.

* Indicates equal authorship

CV (url)