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Linda Chang ’08 

A photo of Linda Chang

MindCORE Postdoctoral Research Fellow at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

Education: Yale University, Cognitive Science (B.A.); Harvard University, Ph.D. in Psychology 

What I’m Doing Now: One of a few postdoctoral research fellows in Wharton’s Operations, Information, and Decisions Department working with Professor Katy Milkman, I conduct research using experiments to understand when and how bias and discrimination occur in our judgments and decisions. When we think about prejudice, we tend to think, “How can we change people’s hearts and minds in order to achieve greater equity?” But research suggests that trying to enact change through diversity training, for example, isn’t all that fruitful. Instead, my work focuses on reshaping the processes through which key personnel selection decisions, such as hiring and promotion decisions, are made in organizations to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion.

How KPS Influenced Me: I began KPS in Grade 1, so I was a lifer. I credit the school with shaping me into the person I am today. One example: The summer before my junior year at KPS, I signed up to serve as a delegate to the week-long American Conference on Diversity, which I learned about through a fellow student. That experience is the reason I’m doing the work I do now — it got me wondering about how we’re socialized as a society and how we can rectify structural inequities. It led me to become a counselor for the program when I graduated from Kent Place. It is also where I met Michael Buensuceso, KPS’s first Director of Diversity (2008–2010), and Henaz Bhatt, KPS’s Director of Diversity (2010–2017). From there, several counselors and I launched our own non-profit, called ROOTS (Rising Over Oppression Through Solidarity), which focuses on youth and better understanding oppression. Henaz was a founding board member and I’m still close to her now, all these years later. 

My Proudest Accomplishment: I take mentoring seriously, whether it’s the high school students I work with through ROOTS or the graduate students I collaborate with at Penn. I devote a lot of time to it and I’m proud of maintaining these relationships and watching the amazing things they go on to do. Just recently, one of my former ROOTS students, who is currently working in Philadelphia and remembers the conversations we had five years ago, reached out to me to reconnect. Watching change — sparked by conversation and curiosity —  propagate out to the young people I work with is gratifying. 

Advice for My KPS Sisters: Enjoy it! That feels like a basic message but the time goes by very quickly. Don’t sweat the small stuff — take risks and take stock of what you’re experiencing. Try to notice what makes you uncomfortable and don’t avoid that discomfort. 

October 2023