The University of Georgia’s School of Public and International Affairs welcomes eight new faculty members this fall. To learn more about each one, keep an eye out for our Faculty Friday posts on social media.


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 (Francophone), 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 will be teaching Introduction to Comparative Politics and Comparative Political Institutions this fall.



Mollie Cohen received her PhD in Political Science from Vanderbilt University. From 2017-2018, she was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Latin American Public Opinion Project and a postdoctoral researcher with the Trans-Institutional Brazil Health Policy Project. Cohen’s research focuses on elections, public opinion, voting behavior, and political representation, especially in the Latin American region. She will be teaching Introduction to Comparative Politics this fall.




Emily Lawler received her PhD in Economics from Vanderbilt University. Her research focuses include health economics, development economics, and applied microeconomics. Lawler is particularly interested in analyzing the effects of public policies on maternal and child health. Her dissertation work focuses on the effects of vaccination policies on health and health behaviors. Lawler is teaching Foundations of Policy Analysis this fall.




Michelle Lofton received her PhD in Public Administration from Syracuse University. She is also an alumna of UGA’s MPA program. Her research interests broadly explore the intersection of public finance and public management by investigating financial tools and techniques to better inform management, strategy, and policy decisions. Lofton will be teaching Public Management and Public Financial Administration this fall.




Ryan Powers received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 2017. Prior to starting at the University of Georgia, he was a Postdoctoral Associate with the Leitner Program in International and Comparative Political Economy at the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University. He specializes in international relations and comparative politics. This fall Powers is teaching Introduction to International Relations and the Graduate Pre-seminar in International Relations.



Geoffrey Sheagley received his PhD from the University of Minnesota where he has since been an Assistant Professor of Political Science. His research and teaching focuses on political behavior, public opinion, and political polarization. He is particularly interested in the factors that lead citizens to hold more accurate and thoughtful opinions as opposed to being more biased and misinformed about the political process. Sheagley is teaching Introduction to Political Science this fall.




Megan Turnbull received her PhD in Political Science from Brown University. She studies political order, violence, and democratization with an empirical focus in Sub-Saharan Africa.  Her book project examines the relationship between democracy and state-building through the lens of government strategies toward armed groups. Turnbull is teaching Introduction to Comparative Politics this fall.




Eric Zeemering is MPA Director and Associate Professor in the Department of Public Administration and Policy. His research investigates local governance and intergovernmental relations, including interlocal contracting for municipal service delivery and the design and performance of networks for local environmental governance. He received his Ph.D. in political science from Indiana University in 2007.