School of Social Sciences


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Melissa S. Fry

Assistant Professor
Director of the Applied Research and Education Center
Phone: (812) 941-2105
Office Location: CV 013
Secondary Location: HB 139

Academic Background

University of Arizona
Country: United States
Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
Major: Sociology
University of Memphis, Center for Research on Women
Country: United States
Degree: Master of Arts
Major: Sociology
Grinnell College
Country: United States
Degree: Bachelor of Arts
Major: Sociology
Minor: Gender and Women’s Studies


Dr. Fry’s career began with a dissertation on public policy implementation in community based services for the aging and the mentally ill. Before joining the IUS faculty, she taught at Auburn University and spent four years as a research and policy associate at the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development in Berea, KY.

Dr. Fry has explored the intersection of political institutions, policy and inequality through work on charter schools, childcare, violence against women, supports for the working poor, payday lending, state tax and budget issues, sustainable development, higher education affordability and the fiscal impact of the coal industry in Kentucky. Dr. Fry continues to work on issues of economic development, poverty and race in Appalachia and is also exploring community based services in Southern Indiana and the Louisville Metro Area through the work of the Applied Research and Education Center.

Professional Interests

  • Applied Sociology
  • Public Policy
  • Political Institutions
  • Community
  • Complex Organizations
  • Nonprofit Community Services and Social Inequality with specialization in Race, Class and Gender