Joyce Fienberg, a researcher in the Learning Research and Development Center for more than 25 years, died Oct. 27 — one of 11 victims of the shootings at Tree of Life Congregation in Squirrel Hill. She was 75.
Beginning in 1983, until her retirement in 2008, Fienberg was a research specialist on a number of classroom-based research projects titled “Classroom Instruction and Learning,” “Instructional Explanations,” “The Value of Character” and “Portraits in Restructuring.” She also was involved in an LRDC project studying workplace simulations in schools.
“I knew Joyce when she worked with Gaea Leinhardt here at LRDC,” said LRDC spokeswoman Elizabeth S. Rangel. “She was a caring and thoughtful person and always very gracious. Many people have told me about the thoughtful things she did for others — remembering birthdays, hosting students new to Pittsburgh, and volunteering with special needs individuals. It’s just heartbreaking to think about this loss.”
Fienberg earned her bachelors in psychology from the University of Toronto, where she worked as a student research assistant in social psychology. Her career included stints working at a residential treatment center with emotionally disturbed children and designing survey instruments at a survey research organization.
Fienberg had long been involved in studying how small groups function as a social support for learning in formal and informal settings.
In 2016, she lost her husband, Stephen E. Fienberg, professor of Statistics and Social Science at Carnegie Mellon University. She is survived by sons Anthony and Howard, as well as her grandchildren.