Alumnus Spotlight: Mike North, RC '06
“I am a big supporter of the RC, and I mention it whenever I can as integral in shaping my passion for teaching undergraduates and shaping their lives (hopefully for the better!).” Mike is a strong advocate for interdisciplinary thinking and learning, which is at the core of the RC. “I think that whatever success I have mustered has been a result of being able to straddle multiple intellectual worlds in this fashion.”
Research opportunities at U-M set him on course for extensive work on ageism. “I worked as a research assistant for U-M psychology professors Dick Nisbett and Shinobu Kitayama, coordinating a study on aging and wisdom, in which I had to conduct a series of one-on-one interviews with people in their 30s or 60+. I didn't think I would enjoy interviewing "old people," as I saw them, but came to appreciate interacting with them even more than I enjoyed interacting with the 30-somethings, since I found the life perspective of the 60+ reassuring and wise.” These experiences pointed Mike towards an interest in studying age, ageism, and generational issues, “which affect literally all living people in the world, whether they realize it or not”.
After graduating from U-M with a BA in Psychology, Mike saw his journey unfold. He worked as a research assistant and coordinator at Columbia University’s Department of Child Psychiatry for 2 years. Although the job was rewarding, Mike felt that he missed the intellectual stimulation found in conducting social psychology research, so he decided to apply to grad school in that field. Mike attained his Ph.D. in Psychology at Princeton University, where he worked with Susan Fiske, whom he called a “true luminary in the field.” He specialized in the under-the-radar topic of ageism, and wrote his dissertation on the subject. As a means of maintaining an applied bent within his scholarship, Mike also pursued a joint degree in Social Policy.
After a 2-year postdoc at Columbia University, Mike managed to land a job in the Management Department at the New York University Stern School of Business. “I never thought I would have ended up teaching at a business school, but reflecting upon my path, I have come to realize that I have always wanted to straddle the line between scholarly rigor and applied relevance, and so teaching management really is in many ways just teaching applied social psychology.” Mike is now in his 4th year at NYU, and he feels incredibly fortunate to have landed a job in his hometown of NYC, “in a department that is fully supportive of my research interests and my career in general”.
Among many accolades, Mike graduated from U-M with Highest Distinction and High Honors. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and recently named a “Rising Star” by the Association for Psychological Science. He has been published in many top academic journals and invited to give talks at various universities, such as Berkeley, Columbia, and Harvard. His research has been featured in high profile newspapers such as the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, and magazines such as Time and New Yorker. He also has authored op-eds for the Harvard Business Review, Quartz, and New Scientist. Mike has the #1 highest teaching ratings among NYU Stern undergraduate professors for the last 2 years. In Mike’s opinion, his best accomplishment of all was marrying his fellow RC alumna Meghan Lewis ('06), and they have a 3-year-old son.
Congratulations, Mike, on all your accomplishments, and here’s to many more! We are proud to call you an RC graduate!
Students and fellow RC alums who are interested in Mike's work can contact him via his website, http://mike-north.com
Photographs provided by Michael North.
Profile written by Robby Griswold, RC ‘07 Arts and Ideas, and Reginald James Roque Galanto, RC ‘22 undecided.