Research Areas

Gender and Achievement; Bereavement Process; Community Service; South Asian Dance/Music; Ethnography 


Ph.D., Harvard University

M.M., Cleveland Institute of Music

A.B., Mount Holyoke College


Curriculum Vitae (pdf)

Germaine Lawrence

WSRC Waltham Committee

Susan Thomson

Susan Thomson

Susan Thomson

Susan Thomson is currently a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell (UML). Her courses include Social Anthropology, Community Service, Sociology of the Family, and Sociology of Health and Healthcare. Qualitative research methods, including ethnography, oral history interviews and/or participatory action research, are an important part of her teaching. For example, this past semester students in her Community Service course created living history scrapbooks for Franco-American elders in Lowell, and also facilitated a storytelling booth for a local neighborhood festival. Prior to working at UML, Susan was the Director of Research at Germaine Lawrence, a residential treatment center for adolescent girls in Arlington, MA. She also taught cultural anthropology at Middlesex Community College for eleven years and was an associate at UML's Center for Women and Work. In addition, she was a member of the Lowell Civic Collaborative and an active participant in Middlesex Community College's extensive community service program. While working in Lowell, Susan has done ethnographic research with the Southeast Asian community and with elderly women at an assisted living facility. Her earlier doctoral research focused on ethnographic fieldwork in rural Bihar, India, studying the politics and artistic development of Seraikela Chhau dance.

Current Projects

Susan is currently working with Phyllis Silverman on a qualitative research report about the experiences of recent widowers for the National Widowers Organization. She is also collaborating with Phoebe K. Schnitzer on the study, “Gender and Achievement: Evolving Contexts and Concepts.” 

Representative Publications

Thomson, S., Hirshberg, D., Corbett, A., Valila, N., Howley, D. “Residential Treatment for Sexually Exploited Adolescent Girls: Acknowledge, Commit, Transform (ACT).” Children and Youth Care Forum, 33:11, 2290-2296, 2011.

Thomson, Susan. “Along the Path to Nibbana: Civic Engagement, Community Partnerships and Lowell’s Southeast Asian Buddhist Temples.” In Southeast Asian Refugees and Immigrants in the Mill City:  Changing Families, Communities, Institutions – Thirty Years Afterward, edited by S. Cowan, J. Gerson and L. Pho, 112-130.  Hanover, NH: Univ. Press of New England, 2007.