Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Public Administration

Melanie Waddell is a PhD student in Public Administration and Policy. Her area is public finance, with her research interests involving emergency management, disaster policy, and budgeting. Her dissertation looks at states as actors in the emergency management network – how they interact with organizations, local governments, and private businesses; how they use budgeting mechanisms to deal with disasters; and an in-depth look at three states as case studies. Current working papers include Using Repeat Audit Findings to Analyze FEMA’s Response to Feedback (currently in the review process at the International Journal for Disaster Risk Reduction), Practice What is Preached: Is FEMA Contracting Responsive to Advancing Democratic Values, and Strategic Decision-Making in Budgeting and Finance for Disasters.


MA | Northeastern University | 2016 | Political Science with a concentration in International Relations

BA | Converse College | 2014 | Theater and Psychology, minor in Politics

More About

Career Goals

Melanie hopes to get a job at a research university so she can continue her research into questions of how governments deal with disasters. She would also like to be part of a public administration or policy program that trains its students to focus on issues of public finance as an integral part of dealing with the problems of government.


Relevant Work Experience

Prior to UGA, Melanie received a MA in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations from Northeastern University. She previously worked as a programs associate at the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations and as a paralegal focusing on nursing home negligence.

Of Note

Outstanding TA Award, February 2022

Areas of Expertise

Public Finance, State Government, Federal Government, Budgeting

Course Instruction

At UGA, Melanie has served as Instructor of Record for PADP 3000: Introduction to Public Administration and PADP 4630: Politics and Budgeting. She also served as a TA for POLS 1101: Introduction to American Government for three years and a Research Assistant.

Research Interests

Budgeting, Emergency Management, Disasters, FEMA