The Knapp Social Science Center (KSSC), located at Pendleton Hall East in the heart of the Academic Quad, serves three purposes:

  • Support student and faculty research, promoting the exploration of complex issues such as health, the environment, poverty, and social justice.

  • Provide a rich program of events, including lectures, colloquia, panel discussions, community-building activities, and informal gatherings.

  • Support innovative approaches to teaching, including community engagement and interdisciplinary learning initiatives.

Faculty research examples

  • Professor Chipo Dendere is researching how some of Africa’s first ladies have influenced national policy-making; her investigations will culminate in a forthcoming book. Hailey Lunceford ’26 assisted with research as a 2023 SSSRP fellow.

  • Julianna Escobado, class of ’25, stands beside a poster.

    The science and human experience of long Covid are the subjects of Professor Anastasia Karakasidou’s research. Maisie Boren ’26 and Julianna Escobado ’25 assisted with research as 2023 SSRP fellows.

  • Kyung Park delivers a presentation.

    Professor Kyung Park is working on three projects: COVID-19 and anti-Asian sentiment, racial classification using online data sources, and improvements in home price indices.

Thesis fellowship research examples

  • Addie New-Schmidt ’24 used data from ten state-level affirmative action bans to examine their impact on the racial makeup of universities' freshman classes and the earnings of graduates later in life.

  • Saskia Vanderwiel

    Saskia Vanderwiel ’24 studied the effect on a person’s psychological well-being when their emotion regulation strategies conflict with their religious values.

Origins of the KSSC

Elizabeth “Betsy” Wood Knapp ’64 was a pioneering tech entrepreneur, angel investor, and passionate philanthropist. She developed online computer access to consumer databases as well as decision-support systems for the media and advertising industries. Holding leadership positions at tech and media businesses, Betsy pushed the transition to interactive computer technology and electronic products. A longtime member of Wellesley’s Board of Trustees, Betsy was a powerhouse philanthropist, and, with her husband Bud, funded significant projects at Wellesley, UCLA, and elsewhere.

Knapp Social Science Center

Pendleton East
106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02481
Jennifer Musto
Director of the Knapp Social Science Center