Yeon Jae Hwang is an incoming first-year doctoral student in the Department of Social Welfare at UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies and her Master of Social Welfare from Yonsei University, South Korea.
As a queer person of color, she continuously sought ways to support and empower marginalized people’s voices during her undergraduate, mostly spending days on the street demonstrating and fostering ties with other advocates in the South Korean community. The number one question that opened her journey to academia was, ‘how does one not conventionally categorized survive in such a heteronormative and conservative society?’
Thus, her main objective as a social welfare student in her master’s was to initiate discourse in Korean academia by highlighting the marginalized groups’ existence and revealing the discriminatory reality they face via quantitative and qualitative research. Now she is engaged and actively participating in various research teams and projects, especially regarding LGBTQ+ research.
Her research interests center on sexual minorities subjected to social discrimination and systematic oppression due to their multiple intersecting identities- including stigmas, prejudice, and microaggression. Her views focus on the systems in which such groups are placed by exploring the forces and powers within diverse levels of context.