Misha Klein, the 2016 Nancy L. Mergler Faculty Mentor Award for Undergraduate Research recipient, is an Associate Professor in Anthropology. She is also an affiliate faculty member in the Women’s and Gender Studies program and the Center for Social Justice. She earned her PhD from UC-Berkeley in 2002. Focused primarily in Brazil, Dr. Klein’s research examines identity, ethnicity, and race; transnationalism; globalization; and the Jewish diaspora. Her 2012 ethnography, Kosher Feijoada and Other Paradoxes of Jewish Life in São Paulo, describes the complexities of identity and ethnicity in Jewish communities in Brazil. Her undergraduate courses include Cultures of Latin America; Anthropological Perspectives on Globalization; Anthropology of Jews and Jewishness; Cross-Cultural Study of Sex, Gender and Sexuality; Global Cultural Diversity; and Introduction to Sociocultural Anthropology.
Dr. Klein has mentored undergraduate students in research related to her areas of interest, but also through using those same social constructs in projects of the students’ own interest and design. Since coming to OU in 2005, she has mentored many undergraduate students as they completed honors and other independent research projects. She has taught almost 1000 additional undergraduates, working closely with them on class research papers and other projects.
Dr. Klein was awarded a Graduate Research Guide for a new course, Race and Ethnicity in Brazil for Spring 2016, but was unable to accept the award as the course was cancelled.
In nominating Dr. Klein for this award, her students detailed her commitment to individualized attention, guidance, and mentorship, her focus on nurturing their growth as scholars and students, and her encouragement for their reaching for opportunities, goals, and awards. Although her selection was based on this nomination, it also serves as recognition of her history of undergraduate mentorship.
Student comments included:
“… the process of beginning my research in the field has been riddled with self-doubt. Dr. Klein does not let me dwell on these thoughts, and reaffirms me in my intelligence and capabilities to ask important questions and develop as a researcher and student. … After every meeting that I have had with Dr. Klein, I leave feeling encouraged. The belief that she has in my ability strengthens my resolve to firmly have faith in myself.”
"Dr. Klein takes the time to go through my writing with me, prodding me to support my assertions with more evidence and clarity, and ultimately to grow in depth of understanding. Feedback from Dr. Klein is always constructive and she will take any amount of time to discuss a concept until I comprehend it clearly.”
"Dr. Klein has been the most supportive and encouraging professor I have known throughout my undergraduate degree. She is constantly bringing my attention to opportunities that are available for me to further my development as a budding scholar of anthropology.”