Wendy Marie Laybourn

Doctoral Candidate

Wendy M. Laybourn is a PhD candidate in sociology at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her research centers around racial and ethnic identity development. Specifically, she focuses on the effect of popular culture (e.g., music, movies, social media) and/or raced institutions (e.g., family structures, Greek letter organizations) on racial and ethnic identity. Her dissertation research examines the effects of ideologies about race, family, and national belonging on Korean adoptee identity formation. In doing so, she draws upon an online survey (n=107), in-depth interviews (n=37), and participant observation (18 months). 

In addition to her dissertation research, Wendy, along with a co-author, has a book manuscript (under contract) which examines racial identity formation and racial boundary making among non-Black members of historically Black Greek letter organizations.

Presently, Wendy serves as the graduate student coordinator for the Department of Sociology's Critical Race Initiative.


Recent Publications

  • “The cost of being ‘real’: black authenticity, colorism, and Billboard Rap Chart rankings.” Ethnic & Racial Studies
  • “‘You’re either one of us or you’re not’: Racial Hierarchy and Non-Black Members of Black Greek-Letter Organizations.” Sociology of Race & Ethnicity  (with Devon R. Goss and Matthew W. Hughey)

Recent Awards

  • The Graduate School All-S.T.A.R Fellowship
  • Dean's Research Initiative Grant
  • Ramon J. Henkel Quantitative Research Fellowship
  • Consortium on Race, Gender, and Ethnicity Dissertation Research Grant





Areas of Interest:
  • Social Psychology
  • Race and Ethnicity
  • Qualitative Methodology
  • Quantitative Methodology
Personal Website:
  • BA Sociology, University of Memphis
  • Wendy Marie Laybourn
1103 Parren J. Mitchell Art-Sociology Building
Department of Sociology
Email: wendyml@umd.edu