Margaret (Molly) Ariotti received her PhD from Pennsylvania State University with a focus in Comparative Politics, Political Methodology, and Geography. Her research interests include African politics, institutions, government composition and formation, state capacity, local governance, bureaucracy, and public goods provision. Ariotti was a 2016-2017 recipient of the David L. Boren Fellowship of the National Security Education Program. She is teaching Introduction to Comparative Politics and Comparative Political Institutions this fall.

What are you working on that you’re most excited about?
MA: I’m currently working on a book about government formation in African democracies. I’m particularly interested in how different parties with legislative seats bargain with each other, and how the president or prime minister builds a strategic coalition out of the parties in the legislature.

What was your favorite part of your college experience?
MA: My favorite part of college was trying classes in lots of different departments, and getting involved in activities like orchestra and the student newspaper.

Please tell us about your research interests.
MA: My research examines executive-legislative relations in African democracies. One aspect of executive-legislative relations that I study is the formation of governments, and how the composition of the legislature influences the type of government that forms. While my work covers African politics broadly, I am especially interested in French-speaking African countries – I have spent time in Burkina Faso and Senegal for my research.

How do you like to spend your time when you’re not working?
MA: My hobbies are running and playing the violin. I love signing up for half marathons, and I’ll be running the AthHalf in October!

What is your favorite food?
MA: It would be easier to tell you what I don’t like! I especially love trying new foods from all over the world.

Please tell us one fun fact about you.
MA: I taught English in France after I graduated from college.

What are you looking forward to in the coming year?
MA: I’m very excited to teach classes on comparative politics in SPIA, and get to know my way around Athens!

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
MA: I think I have two categories: my greatest physical accomplishment was running a marathon, and my greatest mental accomplishment was defending my dissertation!

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
MA: Teleportation!

What advice do you have for SPIA students?
MA: Get involved in clubs and activities – it’s a great way to meet people with common interests. Also, seek out information about the resources that UGA has for you! There are tons of opportunities for scholarships, research opportunities, and internships – but you have to find them!