Laina Bay-Cheng.

Laina Y. Bay-Cheng

Associate Dean for Faculty Development; Professor

"My purpose as a researcher is to trace young women’s sexual vulnerability back to social injustice. It’s not sex that puts girls at risk, it’s interlocked misogyny, racism, adultism, and economic injustice."

Contact Information

579 Baldy Hall
Amherst, NY 14260
Phone: 716-645-1225
Fax: 716-645-3456

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Contact Information

579 Baldy Hall, Amherst, NY 14260 (view map)
Phone: 716-645-1225; Fax: 716-645-3456


  • PhD, Social Work and Psychology, University of Michigan (2003)
  • MA, Personality Psychology, University of Michigan (2000)
  • MSW, Practice with Children & Youth, University of Michigan (1998)
  • BA, Psychology and Women’s Studies, Wellesley College (1995)

Professional/Research Interests

Impact of interlocked misogyny, racism, and economic injustice on young women's sexual lives; age-based power and obstructions to youth sexual rights; critical sexuality and feminist theory and methods.


Professor Laina Y. Bay-Cheng is a graduate of Wellesley College and earned her MSW and PhD through the University of Michigan's joint doctoral program in Social Work and Psychology while affiliated with UM's Institute for Research on Women & Gender. She has been on faculty at the University at Buffalo School of Social Work since 2005. She served as PhD Program Director from 2012-2019 and now serves as Associate Dean for Faculty Development.

Bay-Cheng concentrates her research on the imprint of social injustice on young women's sexual lives. She combines empirical and conceptual analyses to shift attention away from individual-focused models of sexual risk and toward the systemic roots of girls' and women's sexual vulnerability: namely, interlocked gender, class, race, and age-based inequalities and the ideologies that perpetuate them. She is currently pursuing two lines of research: first, she continues interrogating how neoliberal ideology pervades sexuality discourse, including its trumpeting of agency, choice, and consent, often to the detriment of young women; second, she is using Nussbaum’s Capabilities Approach to reveal the gap between the sexual rights and resources to which young women are technically entitled (i.e., what exists on paper) and those that are are actually available (i.e., what can be practiced on the ground).