MSU Sociology PhD student Zoey Lai wins research award

March 15, 2022

Wenhua (Zoey) Lai is the 2022 recipient of the Kenneth E. Corey Research Enrichment Fund, awarded by the College of Social Science.

The intent of this endowed fund is to benefit students and faculty of the College of Social Science at Michigan State University. Professor Kenneth E. Corey served as Dean of the MSU College of Social Science from 1989-1999. As a reflection of his deep affection for and continued close relationship with the MSU College of Social Science, and to further nurture the research culture within the College, he established this endowed fund to provide ongoing support for research within the College.

Wenhua Lai is a PhD student in Sociology with a specialization in global urban studies. Her research interests lie in neoliberal ideology, mental health, health disparities and quantitative methods. Her research agenda centers on 1) the link between neoliberalism, socio-economic status and subjective well-being; 2) how these perceived social  deprivation is association with psychological well-being and mental health outcome; 3) and how those contributions to well-being disparities are different from a cross-national comparative perspective. Overall, she tends to explore the role of neoliberal ideology, and how subjective economic perceptions contribute to disparities in well-being and mental health outcomes from a comparative perspective. 

Her works involve qualitative methods and large secondary datasets. Her current research projects investigate the racial, ethnic, and geographical disparities when accessing portable water and complete plumbing is the US. As an intermediate R user, she is passionate about applying machine learning techniques to social science research and predicting health outcomes.