By the age of twelve, Laura Chang had attended public school in McLean, Virginia; a strict private school in Annandale, Virginia; a modest school in rural Pingtung, Taiwan; and an innovative school in Tainan, Taiwan. Two things stayed constant from school to school: her affinity for science and her urge to find her identity between two countries as an American-born daughter of Taiwanese parents.
After graduating from high school, Laura decided to return to the United States to attend Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where she was born. She majored in physics and pursued research in experimental atomic, molecular, and optical physics (AMO). She carried that focus to Princeton University, where she received the Centennial Fellowship, the Joseph Henry Merit Prize, and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. She spent the first year of her PhD program continuing research in AMO. Interested in the cross section between AMO and theoretical high energy physics, Laura shifted her concentration to dark matter phenomenology. She hopes to search for and understand the nature of dark matter, and how it fits into established frameworks within physics.
At Princeton, Laura is coleader of the Women in Physics Group, whose mission is to foster support and mentorship among women graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the Physics Department. She is also a member of the Women in STEM Leadership Council, a group of graduate students and postdocs from various STEM departments that seeks to effect change in diversity issues and policy at the university. One of Laura's proudest achievements has been cochairing the organizing committee for the American Physical Society Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics at Princeton. Over 230 undergraduates from various institutions participated in the conference, aimed to encourage young women to continue in physics.