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Lisa Nishii

I met Michele when she was fresh out of grad school as a visiting faculty member at NYU, where I was taking classes to try to figure out in what subject at the intersection of psychology and economics I wanted to pursue a PhD. One day I was hanging out in the doorway of Harold Goldstein’s office telling him that the first time I ever felt truly passionate about something I was studying was when I read Harry Triandis’s work on individualism-collectivism. Harold stopped me mid-sentence and took me to Michele’s office next door and said, “she’s your woman.” I told her I’m half Japanese and half American and so Harry’s work helped me figure out all sorts of inner conflicts, she said “get out of town!” and told me I could be Harry’s intellectual grandchild. We instantly started working on our first project together (Gelfand et al., 2001, JAP on cognitive representations of conflict). I didn’t always get her references to George Costanza and SNL skits (having grown up in Japan I didn’t know much pop culture!), but that didn’t stop her 😊. We had SO many good laughs and loved, loved brainstorming together. We thought we were a pretty sassy duo. I was heartbroken when several months later she told me that she had accepted a job as an assistant professor at Maryland. I thought, “how could she possibly leave me?!” I knew I needed to keep working with her, that under her guidance and in the presence of her infectious laugh, boundless curiosity, and razor-sharp intellect, I too could find my way. And I did. Moving to Maryland to continue working with Michele is among my best life decision. Thank you, my dearest Michele, for the indelible impact you have had on me personally and professionally. I love, admire, and cherish you. Always xoxox

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