Xi (Cassie) Cao is a PhD student and Paul F. Lazarsfeld Fellow in the Department of Sociology at Columbia University. Her research interests lie in the intersection of gender, sexuality, and inequality. In particular, she is interested in addressing two broad questions: (1) how non-normative people navigate normativity; and, (2) how marginalized groups of people respond to the inequality by creating their own coping strategies. She prefers a mixed-methods approach to social issues. She graduated from Smith College in 2023 with a B.A degree in Quantitative Economics and Sociology (Highest Honors).