Distinguished Fellow, Class of 2023

Jennifer Lee is the Julian Clarence Levi Professor of Social Sciences at Columbia University and the 2022-23 Robbert Dijkgraaf Member at the Institute for Advanced Study. An award-winning author and an experienced public commentator, she has been uniquely successful in placing the study of Asian Americans centrally in the discipline.

Her most recent book, The Asian American Achievement Paradox, garnered five national book awards. In it, she and her co-author dispel the cultural fallacy that Asian Americans excel in education because they value education more than other groups. Her research has also focused on immigrant entrepreneurship and ethnic conflict, intermarriage and multiracial identification, and the group position of Asian Americans in the latest war on affirmative action.

In her most recent project, she tackles the surge in anti-Asian violence that has affected 1 in 6 Asian American adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. To understand the present, Dr. Lee argues that we must reckon with the past, including an under-recognized legacy of anti-Asian violence, misogyny, and exclusion that dates back more than 150 years, and is embedded in our laws, our institutions, and in our history of science and medicine. She recently presented this research to the Biden-Harris COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force.

Jennifer Lee is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Academy of Political and Social Science. She serves on the Board of Trustees of the Russell Sage Foundation and the Obama Presidency Oral History. She has been a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, a Fellow at the Center for Race, Politics and Culture at the University of Chicago, a Visiting Scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation, and a Fulbright Scholar to Japan.

Her essays and commentary have appeared in The New York TimesThe Washington PostThe Los Angeles Times, CNN, Science, and The Brookings Institution, among other venues.