Lai Sze TsoFaculty

Research Professor (Population Studies and Demography), Assistant Professor in Sociology and Anthropology, and Faculty Affiliate in Scandinavian Studies; Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies; and LALACS

   I am deeply committed to excellence in education and instruction. Wanting to develop my teaching experiences across a diverse range of educational environments to support diverse student bodies, I taught undergraduate courses at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Michigan, Ithaca College, Aquinas College, and Chattanooga State College. To broaden the scope and rigor of my pedagogical skills, I earned two teaching certificates from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology-Kaufman Teaching Certificate, Teaching+Learning Lab and the University of Michigan-Graduate Teaching Certificate, Center for Research on Learning & Teaching.       

  My social outreach and research projects are well-aligned with Gustavus Adolphus College's Mission and Core Values. My work and teaching contribute to social justice, community, service, equity, and inclusion by improving healthcare outcomes for vulnerable populations and by building health infrastructure in low-resource settings. Internationally, I am a part of Mobile Medical Materials Working Group, a collective of academics, practitioners, policy makers, and healthcare system users focused on addressing the mobility and blockages of medical care, supplies, technologies, pharmaceuticals, and related critically needed materials. Much of my work is highlighted in high impact peer-reviewed journals, public health working groups, and community organizations reports. A concise portfolio is available through the NIH's National Library of Medicine. In the summer of 2022, I began serving as a guest editor at Frontiers in Medicine. In September 2022, I was invited to join the Editorial Board of the Asian Journal of Medical Humanities  and began serving as a peer-reviewer for the International Journal of Cultural Studies.  In October 2022, I was nominated to serve on the Sociologists of Minnesota's Board of Directors as the Faculty Representative for the Southern Region. In November 2022, in recognition of my contributions to medical health research, I was nominated and inducted into Full Membership for Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Honor Society , "an international multidisciplinary community of science, technology, engineering, and mathematical (STEM) professionals dedicated to research excellence, promoting public engagement with science, and fostering the next generation of researchers" (Sigma Xi 2022). To better integrate my teaching, research, and social advocacy for Minnesota's diverse communities, I became a MPC Affiliate Member at the University of Minnesota Population Center as of December 2022. As of January 2023, I am one of six nationally selected Population Scholars for the University of Minnesota Population Scholars Program.

My teaching, research, and community advocacy projects address inequities in health professionalization, medical technologies, and public health. At Gustavus, they support our interdisciplanary approach in developing opportunities for career mentoring/internships and research opportunities for students. As a faculty affiliate in Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies and in Scandinavian Studies, my experiences in consulting, teaching, and team research internationally (UK, Denmark, Norway, China, Ghana) offer students the opportunity to learn more about the connections of health, technology, community wellbeing, and social justice. Some of this work has been showcased at the Asian Dynamics Initiative at the University of Copenhagen, Partner Science Norway, and the University of Oslo.  Working with state and community level partners, I collaborate with advocacy organizations to develop internships and mentored research opportunities our students!

  Collectively, my projects focus on four key themes:

  [1] Implementing Health Interventions to Support Vulnerable Populations

  [2] Improving Disease Surveillance + Continuing Education in Health & Medical Professions

  [3] Understanding Health, Wellbeing, and Upward Social Mobility of Women in China

  [4] Building International Public Health Collaborations by Connecting Community, Academic, Industry, Media, and Governmental Stakeholders



   Courses Taught

  • Introduction to Population Studies & Demography (Fall Term)
  • Global Sexualities, Rights, and Policies (Fall Term)
  • Social Media Health Interventions (January Term)
  • Social Problems + Contemporary Social Issues (Spring Term)
  • Gender and Immigration in the US (Spring Term)
  • Special Workshop 2023: Builiding Bridges-Complement Advocacy Impact Reflection (CAIR) Session on Monday March 6, "Unseen Passages: Refugees and the Collective Fight for Vitality" (Spring 2023)


  • Alpha Kappa Delta, International Sociology Honor Society, Gustavus Chapter, Advisor
  • Gustavus AKD /LA (Lambda Alpha, Anthropology) Honor Society  Induction planned for May 5, 2023!


Advocacy, Professionalization, Career Mentoring, and Consultancy

  • Updates to service, outreach, and professional engagement shared via my LinkedIn profile.
  • For students taking Social Media Health Interventions or participating in Social Media Health Interventions + Promotions Working Group [SMHIPP Working Group] on LinkedIn
  • For professionalization support and career mentoring, I encourage students to connect with me via LinkedIn upon graduation.
  • For Journal Review, Social Services, Community-Based Organizations, and Industry Partners interested in collaboration or consultancy, please email me at


********************************  An Additional Note to Students  ********************************

     Open Office Hours for Students in Spring 2023

     Times: Thursdays 4:00-5:15 PM (in person);  [Friday 1:30-2:20 PM (online appts)]

     Office Location: Beck Hall 241

     No Appointment Needed. 

  • Hello students! Great that you are considering a visit during my Open Hours. 
    I want to share that my preferred pronouns are she/her/hers. In my classes,
    emails, and conversations with current and prospective Gustavus students, I
    prefer to go by Professor Tso or Dr. Tso. I am comfortable with Gustavus Alumni
    and new graduates interacting with me on a first-name basis, as Lai Sze. At our
    first meeting, I would appreciate it if you share your preferred pronouns.
  • Open Hours are designated for students to drop-in, any time during these hours,
    to meet with me for one-on-one conversation. There is no limit to the number of
    sessions students can have during a given academic semester. If there are several
    students waiting to meet during a given hour-session, then we meet in order of
    student arrival as time permits. Students can also meet with me as a group. 
  • During Open Hours, students are welcome to come and discuss their ideas,
    questions, or concerns. While formal Gustavus advising and academic requiring
    signatures are outside my scope, I am excited to have conversations with students--
    we can talk about your development in my courses, disciplinary interests in
    Sociology, Health and Medicine, or Gender and Women's Studies, LGBTQ+
    Community, and Youth Outreach. We can also discuss aspirations, plans, and
    experiences for internships, professional socialization, graduate school, scholarship
    applications, conference preparation, or international research or studies. 
  • Students seeking formal Gustavus advising and signatures for administrative
    purposes, please email our department chair, Dr. Suzanne Wilson
    ( Students seeking advice and guidance on Anthropology,
    please email Dr. Colin Smith ( 
  • Open Hours one-on-one meetings are normally meant for questions, discussions,
    or conversations for 10-15 minutes. If you may need customized support requiring
    more time, please email me for a designated appointment. 
  • My office and my Open Hours policy are designed to serve as safe spaces for
    student-instructor conversations and interactions. Students, if you just want
    a comfortable space to recharge or explore ideas, drop by for a snack, a cup of tea,
    or a supportive shoulder. 

     Be well--and I look forward to seeing you soon!
     Dr. Lai Sze Tso



University of Michigan-Ann Arbor: Sociology & Women's Studies Joint PhD & NICHD Trainee at UM Population Studies Center, Institute for Social Research [PhD], Demography [MA]; University of Pennsylvania: International Relations and Asian & Middle Eastern Studies [BA].

Courses Taught

GWS-284 (Gender-Immigration US), S/A-113 (Social Problems/Issues), S/A-244 (ST: Compassion in Society), and S/A-284 (Gender/Immigration U.S.)

Synonym Title Times Taught Terms Taught
S/A-280 Social Media Health 2 2024/JN and 2023/JN
S/A-113 Social Problems 2 2023/FA and 2023/SP
S/A-244 ST:Intro Popula Studies w/lab 2 2022/FA
S/A-282 Global Sex, Rights, Policies 1 2023/FA
GWS-282 Global Sex, Rights, Policies 1 2023/FA
GWS-284 Gender-Immigration US 1 2023/SP
S/A-284 Gender-Immigration US 1 2023/SP