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.

Professor Kao will be available to lecture at two campuses in the Spring and Fall of 2018. ESS will cover travel expenses and honorarium, and the host department is asked to furnish food, lodging, and related expenses.  Departments wishing to host Professor Kao should submit a brief application providing the following information:

  • a short explanation of why you would like to have Professor Kao to come to your campus; the intended audience for the lecture, e.g., undergraduate and/or graduate students, disciplines involved, whether the larger student body or general public would be invited;
  • venue, e.g., whether a freestanding lecture or part of a larger program or initiative, ongoing series, or class; a brief description of the host department and institution; tentative dates.  Some preference will be given to departments with limited resources for securing distinguished scholars as outside speakers; please note if this is a consideration in your situation.

Applications should be limited to 2 pages and should be submitted by email to

Vilna Bashi Treitler 
Professor and Chair of Black Studies
UC at Santa Barbara


Deadline:  Letters sent by January 1, 2019 will receive full consideration, but inquiries will be accepted until the two sites have been chosen and finalized.