Alexandra (Sasha) Killewald


A headshot of Stone Center for Inequality Dynamics Director Sasha Killewald.
Office: 734-615-6105

2042 ISR
426 Thompson St.
Ann Arbor MI 48104

Alexandra (Sasha) Killewald


Robert F Schoeni Research Professor, Research Professor, Survey Research Center, Institute for Social Research and Professor of Sociology, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts

Sasha uses quantitative methods to study inequality in the contemporary United States, with a focus on the relationships among work, family, and money.

In one line of research, Sasha investigates the gendered intersection of work and family. She takes on questions such as: How does marriage and parenthood affect wages? How do wives’ earnings shape their time in housework? What employment patterns do mothers experience? How are work and money associated with couples’ risk of divorce? Her findings frequently challenge the household specialization paradigm for understanding couples’ time use and wage outcomes. A recurring theme in her findings is the persistence of the male breadwinner norm, in contrast to substantial variation in women’s work-family combinations.

In a second line of research, Sasha analyzes how wealth inequality persists across generations and the role of intergenerational processes in the racial wealth gap. She shows that offspring and parents tend to have similar wealth positions and that racial disparities in social origins contribute substantially to the racial wealth gap. At the same time, she finds that racial disparities in wealth persist even among those who start life with similar parental resources, suggesting that the racial wealth gap cannot be reduced to class alone.

With Yu Xie, Sasha is also the author of Is American Science in Decline? (2012), which documents trends in the size of the American scientific workforce, public attitudes toward science, youth interest in science, the production of scientific degrees, and transitions to scientific employment, in addition to evaluating the position of American science on the international scene.

Sasha’s research has been published in journals including American Sociological Review, Demography, Social Forces, and Journal of Marriage and Family. She is the recipient of the William Julius Wilson Early Career Award from the ASA Section on Inequality, Poverty, and Mobility and has received article awards from the ASA Section on Family and the ASA Section on Sociology of Population.


PhD, Public Policy and Sociology, University of Michigan, 2011

MA, Sociology, University of Michigan, 2009

MA, Statistics, University of Michigan, 2009

BS, Mathematics, Economics, and French, University of Michigan, 2005

General Information on Sasha’s Advising

Will you advise me? / Will you serve on my committee?

“If you are a Michigan Sociology doctoral student, in a doctoral program joint with Sociology, or a student affiliate of the Stone Center for Inequality Dynamics, or you have taken a graduate course with me, probably yes!

I love learning about students’ research projects and reading their papers. I am happy to work with you regardless of your methodological approach or substantive topic. If I think I can’t provide the expertise that you want or need, I will tell you that and may suggest other faculty members as additional or alternative advisors and mentors.”

What can I expect of you as an advisor?

“As your advisor, I work to support your academic growth and professional development. I also seek to affirm the importance of caring for your own health and well-being and that of your loved ones.

I strive to be responsive to students over email and accessible for meetings. I think one of my strengths as an advisor is providing timely and detailed written feedback on paper drafts.”

Making contact

“If you’d like to meet in person or by Zoom, start by checking for available advising meeting times here. If those times don’t work for you, email Melissa Bora ([email protected]) to find a time on my schedule. If you would prefer to have a standing meeting time, please let me know.

You’re always welcome to email me questions, updates, and materials for feedback. I may suggest we follow up with a Zoom or in-person meeting, if the question/issue is complicated.

If your question/request is time-sensitive, you can indicate that in your email subject line. If my office door is open, it’s also OK to stop by.

If you email me about an urgent matter, I will try to reply quickly, even if it is an evening or weekend. To support your well-being and work-life balance, as well as my own, I strive to follow the LSA Dean’s Office’s communications norms and practices and send non-urgent work emails only between the hours of 8am and 6pm, Monday through Friday. If I email you on a non-urgent matter outside of those hours, it means I have accidentally forgotten to use Gmail’s “schedule send” feature.”


By default, mentoring meetings are 30 minutes. If you anticipate needing more time, it’s fine to sign up for two adjacent meeting slots online or request a longer meeting.

You are welcome to come to meetings with an agenda if you find it useful, but it is not necessary.

In general, I will rely on you to let me know when you want to meet. If I am your chair/primary advisor, advising meetings can be as frequently as weekly. If I am a committee member/secondary advisor, advising meetings can be as frequently as twice a month. Of course, there may be particular times in your graduate career when it is helpful to meet more frequently, such as in the weeks leading up to a program milestone or when you are applying for jobs.

I typically invite students to see me for a general check-in at the beginning of each semester, separate from other meetings we might have on something specific you’re working on. In these semester check-ins, I will typically ask you to walk me through the full list of what’s on your plate — classes, teaching, RA projects, independent research, etc. These meetings are also a good time to raise big-picture questions, talk about how things are going for you overall, share your goals for the coming months, and discuss how I can best support you. We will update our mentoring plan as needed during these meetings. 


“If I’m your advisor / committee member and you send me a paper or other material (e.g., grant application, memo of potential publishable paper ideas, draft job application materials) to read, I will ordinarily return it to you with comments within two weeks. If you have not heard from me within two weeks, don’t hesitate to send a follow-up email.

You do not need to have a complete draft, or even a clear research idea, before asking for my feedback. When you are in the process of deciding on a topic / research questions for your publishable paper or dissertation, I invite you to send me memos of possible ideas for feedback so that we can iterate. If this process sounds like it could be helpful to you, let me know and we’ll talk more about the details.

For papers and application materials, my default is to provide thorough comments on any materials you send me, typically using track changes. If you’d like me to do something else (e.g., focus only on the broad strokes of the argument, not doing line-by-line edits; focus on the description of the statistical methods), don’t hesitate to let me know — I want to provide the feedback that will be most useful to you.

If I am not your advisor/chair, I will read your draft papers and other written work once for every time your advisor/chair has already read it. This allows your main advisor to have the first round of input on each iteration. If I am not your advisor/chair, I may also not provide line-by-line edits on every iteration of a given paper.” 

Sharing goals and challenges

I support students’ pursuit of both academic and non-academic careers. I hope we can talk openly about your goals for graduate school and beyond so that I can most effectively support you in achieving those goals.

I recognize that students may experience personal, professional, family, or health challenges during their time in graduate school. You are welcome to talk to me about those challenges, and I will do my best to support you and to connect you to other resources and sources of support. Of course, it is your decision how much you want to share with me. If you feel more comfortable discussing your concerns with another mentor, the Director of Graduate Studies, or another campus resource, that is perfectly fine. 

When possible, I will keep information shared with me confidential. However, I am an Individual with Reporting Obligations.” 

Recommendation letters

“If you are asking for a new recommendation letter — if I have never written for you before, haven’t written recently, or haven’t written about this project — please let me know you will need a recommendation letter at least three weeks in advance of the deadline, and please share your draft materials with me at least two weeks before the deadline. When you send the draft materials, please also send your current CV, transcript (if you are currently taking courses), and the latest versions of your publishable paper and dissertation chapters (if applicable). Having these materials helps ensure that I talk about your research accurately and mention relevant other training you have received. If you would like feedback on your application materials, please let me know when you send them to me.

If you are asking for a recommendation letter that only requires minor tweaks from something I’ve already done (e.g., a new fellowship announcement appeared, but you’re applying with the same project as something you applied for a month ago), a week’s notice for the letter is fine.

If the application system sends emails to letter writers automatically, please use Melissa’s email ([email protected]) in connection with my letter. Please keep both me and Melissa informed about letter deadlines.”


“In general, I will put up an out-of-office auto-reply when I am on vacation. If I am going to be away from the office for more than two weeks, I will let you know in advance so you can plan around my absence, if necessary.

If you need to reach me urgently when I am out of the office, you can indicate the urgency in your email subject line and/or contact Melissa ([email protected]) so she can call me.

My approach to and commitment to advising does not change while I am on sabbatical or during the summer. You should feel free to contact me just as you would at any other time. 

Unless we are collaborating on a research project, you generally do not need to let me know about vacations, travel to professional conferences, or other brief periods away from campus. If you are going to be away from work / not easily reachable for more than a few weeks, please let me know. In general, the thing that makes me most anxious as an advisor is when I can’t get a hold of you and don’t know if you’re OK, so it helps me to know of times I should expect not to hear from you.”


“My preference is for open communication between co-advisors and among committee members. If it’s helpful, I’m happy to have advising meetings with both co-advisors present or a discussion of the full committee. 

One practice I have found helpful for reconciling comments from different committee members is to have committee members layer their comments on a draft on top of one another, so the advisors can be in dialogue with each other and note places of agreement or disagreement. If you think this approach might be helpful to you, you can ask your committee members how they feel about it.”

Changing advisors

“It is completely normal for research interests and mentoring needs to evolve during graduate school. If at any point you want to change advisors or shift my role (e.g., from chair to committee member), just let me know. I want you to have the best advising team for you.”