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School of Humanities, Education, Justice & Social Sciences

Melissa MacDonald, Ph.D.

Office: Klingbeil 21

Tel: 617-243-2199



  • Ph.D. Sociology & Feminist Studies, University of California Santa Barbara
  • M.A. Sociology, University of California Santa Barbara
  • B.A. Women and Gender Studies, Smith College

Melissa MacDonald grew up in Everett, Massachusetts. A first-generation college student, she earned her BA in women and gender studies from Smith College, a MA in sociology, and a PhD in sociology with an emphasis in feminist studies from the University of California Santa Barbara. Prior to joining Lasell, she served as an Associate Professor of Sociology and Department Chair at American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts. In her previous professional life, she was a first-grade special education teacher in the South Bronx.

Melissa MacDonald's areas of expertise include DEI, social justice, anti-racism, and social inequality. Her primary research is drawn from qualitative analysis of over one hundred interviews with low-income mothers who receive Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC) in the Greater Boston area. Her research considers the discursive practices by which white welfare recipients create, maintain, and reproduce racialized identities, as well as the role of white privilege in structuring access to resources inside and outside the welfare office. Her follow up research project examines the gendered experience of men who receive TAFDC benefits. Melissa's secondary research and teaching interests include fat studies, queer studies, and popular culture.