Grace Kao is Professor of Sociology, Faculty Director of Education Studies, and Director of the Center for Research on Inequalities and the Life Course (CIQLE) at Yale University. She is also affiliated with the Ethnicity, Race, and Migration Program (ER&M) and the Center on Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration (RITM) at Yale University. She is currently Vice President-Elect of the American Sociological Association (ASA). She is the 2017 Recipient of the Contribution to the Field Award from the Section on Asia and Asian America of the ASA.

Previously, she spent two decades at the University of Pennsylvania, where she was most recently Professor of Sociology, Education, and Asian American Studies. At Penn, she served as the Director of the Asian American Studies Program from 2003-2009. She was active in diversity initiatives at all levels of the university. She received the 25th Anniversary Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Mentoring from the Trustees’ Council of Penn Women and the 10th Anniversary Administrators of Color Award from the James Brister Society. She is also noted for her training of graduate students, having served on or is currently serving on more than 40 dissertation committees and has co-authored papers with more than 20 student co-authors.

She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from The University of Chicago and her B.A. in Sociology (with Highest Honors) and Oriental Languages (Chinese Literature) from University of California, Berkeley.

She has written extensively on race, ethnic, and immigrant differences in educational outcomes among children and adolescents. Her work is highly cited, and several of her papers on minority and immigrant youth are among the most ever-cited in the journals in which they appear. She has served on the editorial boards of the American Sociological ReviewSocial Science Quarterly, Social Science ResearchSocial Psychology QuarterlySociological ForumSociological Perspectives, and Social Problems. With Hyunjoon Park, she co-edits Research in the Sociology of Education.

Her research has received funding from NICHD, Russell Sage Foundation, and The Spencer Foundation. She has held office in the American Sociological Association, Population Association of America, and the Association for Asian American Studies. She is currently finishing a book on interracial friendship and romantic relationships among youth with Kara Joyner and Kelly Stamper Balistreri. In addition, with support from the Academy of Korean Studies, she is working with a team of researchers, headed by Hyunjoon Park, on the transition to adulthood among Korean and other East Asian youth in Asia and in the United States.