Lissa V. Young

Assistant Professor 
Dept. of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership
US Military Academy

Lissa Young is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership, at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York where she teaches in the Leadership and Management program.  

Lissa Young is a 1986 graduate of the United States Military Academy, and a former Army aviator.  She flew CH-47D “Chinook” cargo helicopters. During her Army career Lissa served at West Point on the faculty of the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership, and was the course director for PL300, the Academy’s core course in Leadership, from 1996-1999.   

After graduating from the Army’s prestigious Command and General Staff College in 2000, Lissa was selected to take command of the U.S. Army’s only High-Altitude Search and Rescue Chinook unit and was stationed in Fairbanks, Alaska. While there, Lissa lead the effort to exhume a 10-million-year-old Ichthyosaur fossil from the rocky faces of the Brooks Range north of the Arctic Circle. This highly coveted specimen had been monitored for nearly thirty years by the archeological scholars of the University of Alaska.  Lissa, seeing the opportunity to put her warships in service of good, designed an extraction mission under the auspices of “Army Training”.   

In the summer of 2002, when this two-year mission was successfully completed, Lissa was selected for promotion to Lieutenant Colonel, and chosen by the United States Military Academy to join its faculty as a permanent Academy Professor. 

Later that summer, Lissa was involuntarily discharged from the military, under the auspices of the now defunct Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.  After picking up the pieces and transitioning to the civilian sector, Lissa served as Raytheon Company’s lead sales representative for air traffic control systems in the Middle East from 2003 to 2007.  In 2007, Lissa was awarded a Presidential Fellowship by Harvard University, and in 2013 earned her doctorate there. Her research examines the effects of stereotyping and prejudice on interpersonal assessments of competence in high performance teams; how war has influenced the development and direction of the discipline of Social Psychology; and how scholars negotiate requests for their expertise to aid war efforts.   

While at Harvard, Lissa served on Harvard’s committee to design and implement a new doctorate in Education Leadership.  Lissa has also served the U.S. Army by piloting curricula teaching deploying soldiers Social Perspective Taking in an effort to improve their ability to understand and communicate with host nation citizens. 

Lissa holds a Bachelor of Science in Literature from the United States Military Academy (1986), a Master of Arts degree in Social Psychology from the University of Kansas (1996), a Master of Education degree from Harvard University (2009), and a Doctorate in Education Policy, Leadership and Instructional Practice (EPLIP) from Harvard University (2013). Lissa also earned and was awarded a doctoral certificate from Harvard University’s Committee on Degrees in Studies of Women, Gender and Sexuality (2013). 

Upon graduating from Harvard, Lissa joined a fellow Harvard classmate in an entrepreneurial start-up venture building a craft rum distillery in Ipswich, Massachusetts. The company, Privateer Rum, is thriving.  See 

After helping to make rum for almost a year, Lissa finally was invited to join the faculty of the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. In the fall of 2014, Lissa kick-started an Entrepreneurship course, the students of which earned five category championships at the Mid-Hudson Regional Business Plan competition in April of 2015. Those same cadets placed 1st in the New York State Business Plan competition later that same month. She has continued that effort, securing state championship recognition each year since 2015.  

Beyond academics, Lissa is the faculty advisor for the cadet radio station, WKDT.  Additionally, Lissa serves as a faculty mentor for the women’s soccer team, for which she was the captain in 1985, when she was a cadet.   

In her free time, Lissa studies the roots of jazz and hip-hop music, rides both of her Harley Davidson motorcycles, and is a slam poetry enthusiast.