Melissa Carlson

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Personal Statement: 

I am a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at U.C. Berkeley, specializing in international relations, comparative politics, and methodology.  My research largely focuses on the relationships between states and non-state actors in the Middle East. Fluent in Jordanian and Syrian dialectical Arabic, I have conducted extensive field work in Jordan, Greece, and Iraq, interviewing internally displaced and refugee populations, aid organization workers, government officials, and militant group members. I have worked with various aid organizations, including the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Jordan Mission and Prolepsis, a Greek public health and nutrition aid organization, to design and implement ethnographic research programs and survey experiments. I have also worked as a professional translator for journalists and aid organizations in informal and formal refugee camps across the Greek mainland and islands. 

My research has been supported by various fellowships and grants, including the Morris Abrams Award in International Relations (2017), U.C. Berkeley Center for Middle Eastern Studies Sultan Program fellowship (2017), U.C. Berkeley Center for Global Public Health Research Fellowship (2017), U.C. Berkeley Human Rights Center Fellowship (2016-2017), the FLAS Fellowship (2014-2015), and the Phi Beta Kappa Northern California Association (2014).

Prior to beginning my PhD at U.C. Berkeley, I worked as Public Information consultant for the IOM Iraq Mission in Jordan and  Iraqi Kurdistan. In this capacity, I traveled to various camps for Syrian refugees and Iraqis displaced by ISIS in Ninewa, Dohuk, and Erbil, interviewing beneficiaries and photographing IOM aid distributions. I have a M.A. in Political Science from U.C. Berkeley, and a B.A. in International Relations and Politics, Philosophy, and Economics from Claremont McKenna College.

Dissertation Committee Chair: 
Michaela Mattes
Primary Subfield: 
International Relations
Secondary Subfield: 
Comparative Politics
Methodology & Formal Theory
Middle East/North Africa