Lisa Fein is a sociologist who enjoys sharing her passion for the discipline through teaching and advising undergraduates.  Born and raised in New York, she attended Columbia University where she majored in Russian Area Studies and studied abroad for a semester in Moscow, honing her language skills and indulging her passion for Russian literature.

After college, Lisa decided to pursue a Master’s Degree in Russian and East European Studies at the University of Michigan.  For her thesis, Lisa had the opportunity to conduct fieldwork in Belarus, interviewing leaders of women’s organizations to learn why, despite being forced out of the workforce and increasingly relegated to the private sphere, women were opposed to joining a nascent feminist movement.

After finishing her M.A. and still eager to further her knowledge of the former Soviet Union, Lisa began the Ph.D. program in Sociology at Michigan.  She was fortunate to have the opportunity to work on a multidisciplinary project funded by the Ford Foundation that investigated identity and social issues in Estonia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.  Her dissertation was inspired by her work on this project and she received a Fulbright award to conduct research in Tallinn on relations between ethnic Estonians and Russians.  She has published articles in Administrative Science Quarterly, Citizenship Studies, and Political & Military Sociology.

Upon receiving her Ph.D., Lisa became an Assistant, and later Associate, Professor of Sociology at Westminster College in Missouri, a liberal arts college best known as the site of Winston Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech.  At Westminster, Lisa developed a pedagogy based on active, hands-on learning and launched a new research project based on her longstanding interest in gender.  She is currently conducting interviews among individuals who identify as trans and gender non-binary to explore how they negotiate gendered rituals and practices, including weddings.

Lisa is excited to return to UM as a member of the Organizational Studies Department, where she will have the opportunity to work with talented students and teach a variety of courses, including those related to diversity and equity in organizations. 

In her spare time, Lisa enjoys cooking, going to the gym, reading spy novels, and doing yoga at the Cat Café.