Lisa Brandes

Board Member since 2019

A Graduate School alumna, Lisa Brandes returned to Yale in 1996 to help create the McDougal Graduate Student Center. She received her B.A. in political science from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. At Yale, she earned her M.A., M.Phil and Ph.D. in Political Science, with a specialization in international relations. Her research focused on the domestic sources of foreign policy, especially the impact of gender on public attitudes toward war and peace issues. Lisa held faculty positions at Tufts and Wesleyan Universities prior to returning to Yale Graduate School as a Director and Assistant Dean.

Since the McDougal Center’s creation in 1996, Lisa has worked with graduate student Fellows, student leaders, administrators, and staff to develop a wide range of social and cultural events enhancing graduate student life and fostering a sense of community among graduate students and their family members. For the Graduate School, she provides recruitment assistance to departments and programs, oversees New Student Information and Orientation Week, plans school-wide Dean’s events and helps coordinate Commencement activities. For the university, she serves on working groups and projects to enhance student services and coordinates the graduate affiliate program with the residential colleges. Lisa has served as an officer within regional and national political science associations and women’s groups.

Lisa was a member of ECY as a graduate student, and worshipped in Dwight Chapel, where she was confirmed. She and husband Scott McLean were married in Battell Chapel. She has been a member of an Episcopal Church in Cambridge, MA, and First and Summerfield Methodist Church and Trinity Episcopal Church in New Haven. She is committed to campus ministry, having served on the ECY Board and the Commission on Ministry in Higher Education in Massachusetts. She has worked with the Tufts Chaplaincy and regularly collaborates with the Yale Chaplain’s Office.

Lisa lives in the Westville neighborhood of New Haven with husband Scott McLean, a professor of Political Science at Quinnipiac University, their son Charlie, a student at NHPS Engineering and Science University Magnet School, and 1 cat. She is active in local political, church and community groups, and enjoys gardening, baking, traveling, theater, and scifi.

Her office is in the McDougal Graduate Student Center, 135 Prospect Street, upper level. Contact her via email ( or or by phone at the office 203-432-2583 or cell 203-671-9383.