Monday, May 22, 2023
Yujia Lyu

When Yujia Lyu was in school in China, she became interested in how people relate to each other at work: How do work relationships shape opportunities for success in life? She decided that the best place to learn how to tackle this question would be the Department of Sociology and Criminology at The University of Iowa.

Upon her arrival, Yujia’s talent and work ethic made her a natural fit here in Iowa, and she dove into research in social psychology. She designed an original experiment on people’s competence and dominance in work groups. Her discoveries will be published in a research journal, Sociological Focus.

Yujia’s leadership and research skills led to her appointment as Laboratory Manager at The Center for the Study of Group Processes. She currently oversees Dr. Alison Bianchi’s NSF-funded experiment that explores a classic question in sociology: How do relationships in three-person groups shape the influence that individuals have within them?

Yujia is passionate about the dissertation research for her PhD. According to Yujia, “Despite tremendous organizational and policy efforts, people of different categories still have unequal access to critical resources and opportunities. Following Charles Tilly's theory of durable inequality, my project investigates a micro-level process at the intersection between categorical distinctions and organizational boundaries (for example, interactions between male managers and female assistants).” Yujia’s research has the potential to reduce inequality and improve overall performance in organizations. Her project has already won two important awards: first place in this year’s Midwestern Sociological Society’s Graduate Student Paper competition and Honorable Mention for the American Sociological Association Social Psychology Section’s Graduate Student Investigator Award.

Yujia in the Center for the Study of Group Processes
Yujia Lyu (left) training an undergraduate at The Center for the Study of Group Processes

Yujia’s growing reputation in the field of social psychology is demonstrated by her election as Chair of the 2023 ASA Social Psychology Section Graduate Student Advisory Committee and as Newsletter Editor for Social Psychology at the International Sociological Association. She is also a strong advocate for public sociology. Her personal blog introduces sociological social psychology to a Chinese audience and has over 5,000 followers. She has been invited to give public lectures in China. 

Yujia Lyu was recently awarded the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dissertation Writing Fellowship, so we will benefit from her contributions for one more year.