SPIA is excited to introduce Emily Bell!

Emily Bell earned her PhD from the University of Arizona in 2018. Her main research interests involve peoples’ worldviews and values, and how these beliefs manifest as strategic behavior. She also examines questions relating to collaborative governance to overcome collective challenges. When she’s not working, Dr. Bell enjoys running and spending time outdoors.

Q: What attracted you to UGA?

EB: I have heard wonderful things about SPIA and its people! Having a chance to collaborate with SPIA faculty a few years back was a great way to learn more about the School.


Q: Where did you grow up? 

EB: Southern California and East Tennessee


Q: What are you working on that you’re most excited about?

EB: I’m excited to work on a few projects right now that focus broadly on i) climate adaptation where public service provision is fragmented among community water systems and ii) how/whether/why stakeholders participate in regional collaborative processes to overcome collective action issues under climate pressures. Right now, I’m drawing on survey data and text data from administrative records to address related questions in North Carolina and Georgia.


Q: What was your favorite part of your college experience?

EB: One of my favorite experiences was starting–and continuing–discussions with friends over coffee that have since turned into collaborative projects. 


Q: What is your favorite food?

EB: Popcorn.


Q: Please tell us one fun fact about you.

EB: I have cycled from Olympia, WA to Los Angeles, and from New York to the North Carolina/South Carolina border.


Q: What are you looking forward to in the coming year?

EB: Having a chance to see everyone in person!


Q: Do you have any pets? If so, what kind(s)?

EB: Yes: Bowie, a Beagle/Basset Hound/mystery mutt.


Q: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

EB: I think it might be having developed an ability to adapt. When I was studying for a master’s in Latin American Studies and Public Administration, I led independent field work on a non-profit organization in Brazil. This was an unprecedented experience for me on all fronts and–as I have since learned is common in field work–my experience did not go as planned (which was not a bad thing!). This experience showed me the importance of being resourceful and critically thinking about challenges from different angles to identify opportunities.


Q: What advice do you have for SPIA students?

EB: I remember when I was in graduate school, I saw that my friend’s workspace had a note pinned up that said something like “Work hard and stay humble.” It made me think about how this person put these words into practice daily, and how I really admired their way of being in the world. This behavior showed me that there is always something to learn from those around you and continuing to put in the effort is rewarding not only for personal growth, but for the opportunities it creates when you find synergies with others.