Sociology faculty

Mayra Gómez:  Mayra received her PhD in Sociology from the University of Minnesota (Twin Cities) in 2001 and enjoys introducing this exciting, interesting and compelling field

Mayra Gomez to her students.  At LSC, Mayra is a part time online instructor in the Sociology Department, most frequently teaching Introduction to Sociology,  Patterns of Domestic Violence and Women and Gender in Society.  In addition to working as a part time online instructor, Mayra works full time in the area of international human rights, with a particular emphasis on women’s rights and economic, social and cultural rights.  She has travelled extensively in her work, conducting research and engaging in global advocacy campaigns.

Theresa Leopold








Marlise RiffelMarlise earned her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Sociology from Illinois State University in 1973 and 1979.  She spent ten years working in the human services field before beginning her teaching career in 1983 at Rochester Community College.  She moved to the Iron Range inMarliseClass2

1991 and has been with Lake Superior College since then.  In addition to teaching the
Introduction to Sociology survey course each semester, Marlise developed the Human Sexuality, Women and Gender in Society, Race Class and Gender, Environmental Sociology, and most recently, the Animals & Society classes.  She is passionate about teaching and learning; she was chosen as the 2009 Minnesota Professor of the Year, an award granted by the Carnegie Foundation and the Center for the Advancement and Support of Education in recognition of extraordinary dedication to undergraduate teaching. 


Richard Gehrke

“When I began attending college at Lake Superior College I never imagined that I would someday be back here teaching sociology myself. My career goal at one time was to be an accountant. That changed to teaching high school social studies. That changed into simply being content with bachelors and eventually I will have my masters degree completed in sociology as well.
Prior to attending LSC and graduating with my associate’s degree; I was a graduate of Barnum High School. Upon completing my associate’s degree I began studying sociology at UWS and I completed my bachelors with a major in sociology and minor in political science. I then worked at Woodland Hills in the Community Transition Program before moving on to work on my Masters degree in Sociology at Minnesota State University-Mankato. I lived in Mankato for several years before returning to teach at Lake Superior College. I still miss Mankato and especially the weather which is usually a tad bit warmer and nicer than it is up here in northeastern Minnesota.
My interests as a sociologist includes: criminology and juvenile delinquency, social stratification and social inequality with a particular emphasis on social inequality within the criminal and juvenile justice systems, political sociology, cinematic sociology (sociology of film), and sociology of adolescence. I am also a past member of both the Midwest Sociological Society and Sociologists of Minnesota. I have also organized sessions at the annual MSS meeting on the topic of Juvenile Delinquency and the Juvenile Justice System.
As a teacher in the classroom; I believe one learns sociology best by doing sociology. This means minimal tests and quizzes and asking lots and lots of questions and reflecting on what you have learned. Students bring a lot of life experience(s) with them to my classes and my goal is to teach students how to use the sociological perspective within their own lives and to learn that there is more than 2 ways of looking at society and the world around them.”