Born in Edison, New Jersey, and raised in Chicago, Illinois, Brianna Yang is the child of immigrants from China. Her parents did not learn the forms of political participation practiced in the United States before they arrived, but they eagerly discussed politics and current events with her and encouraged her to find her own best practices of civic engagement.
Brianna built her civic knowledge and values in the classroom and in her work. She graduated from Columbia University summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a BA in Political Science with honors and History. She is currently pursuing a MSc in Social Science of the Internet at the Oxford Internet Institute of the University of Oxford. She is broadly interested in questions of political participation, particularly the ways in which the Internet can be used as a tool to empower the political participation of marginalized communities. She has conducted research on topics related to civic engagement, data privacy laws, and voting rights for PEN America, Generation Citizen, and the U.S. Mission to the European Union and as part of the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress’ Presidential Fellows Program. She has also been active in democratic politics, organizing get-out-the-vote efforts for a congressional campaign and various undergraduate organizations.
Brianna will pursue a JD at Yale Law School. She plans to study the intersection of technology and civil rights law, examining how legal principles must be rethought, retooled, and rewritten for the digital age. In the future, she aims to run for public office in order to implement policies that expand democratic access.