Changing Your Name to ‘Fit In’ in America

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What’s in a name? The question originally posed by Shakespeare is also the title of New York University sophomore Aria Young’s winning entry to this year’s NPR College Podcast Challenge. Young changed her name from 杨沁悦, or Yáng Qìn Yuè, when she moved to Pennsylvania from Shanghai for high school because her original name was “too hard for the English tongue to pronounce,” she says in the podcast. But sometimes she feels her adopted last name isn’t quite right either. We’ll talk about what it means to change your name to “fit in” in America, or to have learned your family has done so, and we’ll hear from listeners about what their names mean to them.


Aria Young, co-host, “WHAT THE NEW YORK?!? Podcast” on WNYU, New York University’s student radio station

Denise Soler Cox, co-director and co-producer, “Being Eñye”; co-founder, Project Eñye

Sabelo Mhlambi, research fellow, Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society; practitioner fellow, Stanford University's Digital Civil Society Lab