Angelica Leigh

Angelica Leigh is a PhD student concentrating on organizational behavior within the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School. Her research focuses on the diversity in organizations such as the influence of racial and gender stereotypes on negotiation outcomes.

Angelica Leighphoto by William Frasca
September 12th, 2018

When you were a child, what was your response to this question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

A lawyer and a teacher. My mom was a middle school history teacher and then she went to law school. She is now a practicing lawyer — and I always wanted to be just like her! It is interesting to me that, as a professor, I will actually be fulfilling one of these dreams.

RESEARCH IN 5 WORDS:

“Diversity’s dynamic nature at work.”

Share the pivotal moment in your life that helped you choose your field of study.

When I was an undergraduate student at Michigan State University, I had two professors who encouraged me to pursue a PhD. While I was interested in that prospect, I wanted to get out in the “real world” and work before I considered doing any graduate studies. After working in corporate finance for three years, I decided to attend a conference that was sponsored by The PhD Project — an organization that is dedicated to increasing the diversity of business school faculty. It was during this conference that I decided it was the perfect profession for me.

Leigh (right) grew up dancing and currently performs in a tap ensemble. Here, she poses with her aunt after a performance last year.

Leigh (right) grew up dancing and currently performs in a tap ensemble. Here, she poses with her aunt after a performance last year.

Tell us about a time you encountered a tricky problem. How did you handle it and what did you learn from it?

When I first started my doctoral program, I was pretty lost — I had no idea how to navigate the process of starting a research project. After spending about a week agonizing about this, I talked with two students in my program, who told me to start building relationships with faculty in our department. After a series of one-on-one meetings, I formed collaborations with two faculty members and, by the end of the semester, began building a relationship with my current advisor, Shimul Melwani. I learned that relationships are important — and that it’s okay to ask others for help and guidance.

What are your passions outside of science?

Tap dancing. I started dancing when I was about 3 years old and danced competitively throughout middle and high school. After moving to Chapel Hill for my doctoral program, I reconnected with my love for tap. It provides me with the energy I need to persevere when I hit road blocks within my research.

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