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Michele Waslin 
Interim Director of the Immigration History Research Center

Michele Waslin is the interim director of the Immigration History Research Center. In her role, Waslin tracks and analyzes immigration research and policy, writes on related topics, coordinates the work of the IHRC, and builds relationships with academics and other experts. Waslin has written extensively on immigration policy, has authored multiple book chapters and publications, and has appeared in English and Spanish-language media.

Prior to joining the IHRC, she was the program coordinator of the Institute for Immigration Research at George Mason University. Prior to that, Waslin was a senior policy analyst at the American Immigration Council. Before that, Michele was the manager of the Immigration and the States project at the Pew Charitable Trusts and was director of immigration policy research at UnidosUS (previously the National Council of La Raza). Dr. Waslin holds a bachelor's degree in political science from Creighton University, a master's degree in international relations from the University of Chicago, and a PhD in government and international studies from the University of Notre Dame.

Previous Director

Erika Lee is an award-winning historian, author, and public scholar. She is a Regents Professor of History and Asian American Studies, director of the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota, and president of the Organization of American Historians. The granddaughter of Chinese immigrants, Lee was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and the American Antiquarian Society and testified before Congress in its historic hearings on anti-Asian discrimination and violence. She is the author of four award-winning books including The Making of Asian America and America for Americans: A History of Xenophobia in Americawhich won the American Book Award and the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, as well as other honors. Named to many best books lists and identified as an essential book illuminating the Trump era and the 2020 elections, America for Americans was recently re-published with a new epilogue on xenophobia and racism during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Making of Asian America was also recently republished with a new postscript about the latest campaigns against Asian Americans. 

Lee co-founded and directs three major digital humanities projects: Immigrant Stories#ImmigrationSyllabus, and Immigrants in COVID America, and she is a regular commentator in the media, including featured appearances in the PBS film series “Asian Americans” and interviews with CNN, PBS NewsHour, National Public Radio, the New York Times, and more. Her opinion pieces have been published in the Washington Post, Time, the New York Daily News, USA Today, and the Los Angeles Times.