Mengyao Huang: A Reasercher Profile

By Emma Garcia

In January 2023, Mengyao Huang began a research project titled Leveraging Diffusion Models and Online Reinforcement Learning for Personalized Advertisement Design. Huang describes this research with the objective “to create an AI-driven tool using reinforcement learning for personalized ads”, emphasizing a primary focus on significantly reducing the costs of ad design and increasing fairness in business opportunities. Huang’s research aims to advance diversity and inclusion within advertising and increase equity for underrepresented groups and small businesses. Enhancing the representation and well-being of marginalized communities as well as fostering “economic accessibility for small businesses” are all ways that Huang’s project plans to improve marketing and challenge “harmful societal norms.”

When asked about the inspiration for this research, Huang answered that she found technology to have a unique, transformative power, specifically artificial intelligence, in increasing DEI within personal advertisement. She acknowledges that in this increasingly digital age, advertising has gained the ability to “perpetuate or challenge” existing inequalities, and she is motivated to guide users towards a more effective and equitable form of advertising, all while decreasing ad design costs by using artificial intelligence.

Mengyao Huang shared that her past research findings have played “a pivotal role in shaping both my personal perspectives and leadership approach.” Her research on the intersection of artificial intelligence and DEI within advertising have been “instrumental in guiding [her] understanding of the broader societal implications of technological advancements.” Huang recalls witnessing the potential of AI-driven tools to “democratize access to advertising, providing a platform for underrepresented groups and small businesses.” Crediting that discovery as what reinforced her belief in the “transformative power of technology when wielded responsibly and ethically.”

Huang adds that her exploration of DEI within the context of her research has taught her the value of fostering a collaborative environment, one that promotes “diverse expertise” and perspectives. Not only does this approach enrich her research process, but it also supports a “more inclusive and innovative work culture.”

Huang names Dr. Tabbye Chavous as an Equity Fluent Leader that inspires her, stating that Dr. Chavous has demonstrated “exceptional leadership at various levels.” Dr. Chavous has dedicated her career to promoting diversity and uplifting underrepresented communities, values seen in her role as co-director of the Center for the Study of Black Youth in Context. Huang praises Dr. Chavous’ notable embodiment of traits that define an Equity Fluent leader, ending with recognition of her leadership and how it serves “as a beacon for those dedicated to creating equitable and inclusive environments within academia and beyond.”



Center for Equity, Gender & Leadership (EGAL)

At the heart of UC Berkeley's Business School, the Center for Equity, Gender, and Leadership educates equity-fluent leaders to ignite and accelerate change.