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Hollie Nyseth Brehm

Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology
Educational History:

B.S. in Sociology and Political Science with minors in Spanish and International Studies, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse - 2008
M.A. in Sociology with an emphasis on Human Rights, University of Minnesota – 2012
Ph.D. in Sociology, University of Minnesota - 2014

Describe your current research:

I study why and how genocide happens and how countries rebuild in the aftermath. I am particularly interested in predicting genocide and in understanding why different communities experience distinct levels and types of violence during genocide. Currently, I am working on a project that involves following genocidaires (people convicted of committing genocide) as they leave prison and return home to their communities in Rwanda. 

What classes are you currently teaching?

I typically teach Sociology of Terrorism (SOC 3315) and Global Criminology (SOC 5525). However, Autumn 2017 I am on research leave so I can interview people in prison in Rwanda.  I also lead a study abroad class called Genocide and Its Aftermath in Rwanda. It’s a three-week class that examines the history of Rwanda, the genocide, and how the country has rebuilt in the aftermath. Please send me an email if you want to learn more, as we’ll be going again summer 2018! 

What aspect of your teaching gives you the most satisfaction?

I love being able to apply what we are talking about in the classroom to current events. I also love when former students contact me to tell me about how class lessons or activities are useful in their current careers.

What book, movie or music would you recommend?

I’ll focus on this summer, as otherwise this could be a long answer! The best books I read this summer are Homegoing, written by Yaa Gyasi, and The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver. The best movie I saw was The Big Sick, and the best concert I went to was Chance the Rapper.

What is the most interesting place you’ve visited?

Other than Rwanda, I would have to say either going on a safari in Ngorongoro Crater in Northern Tanzania or snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef.

What is the best advice you’ve received?

If you don’t believe in what you are doing, why would anyone else?

What advice would you give to undergraduate students?

Study abroad! I'm a little biased since I lead a study abroad class, but I have never talked with anyone who regretted studying abroad. And, much research has found that studying abroad leads to numerous benefits, like increased confidence and career opportunities.

Would you like to share an interesting fact about yourself?

I started a school for refugees when I was 22, and I was the chair of the school board until I moved to Ohio in 2014.  Otherwise, I do CrossFit (well, I try).

Besides your research and courses, if students stopped by your office what would be fun to discuss? 

Feel free to stop by my office hours. I love to talk about Game of Thrones, international travel, donuts and dogs!  

In 2016, Brehm received both the College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teaching Award and the Ohio State Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching. In 2015, she received the Sociology Department’s Most Supportive Faculty Member Award and the Alpha Chi Omega Spring 2015 Professor of the Semester award.

Read more about Nyseth Brehm’s research, teaching and many achievements:



Office and contact information:
162 Townshend Hall
1885 Neil Avenue