Curriculum Vitae

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Political Science & International Affairs

Meridith LaVelle is a PhD candidate at the University of Georgia’s Political Science and International Affairs program. She primarily studies human rights, contentious politics, political violence, human rights measurement, political economy, and quantitative methodologies.

  • M.A., University of Georgia, Political Science and International Affairs, 2020
  • B.A., University of Georgia, 2016, International Affairs
  • B.A., University of Georgia, 2015, German Language
  • Certificate, University of Georgia, 2015, Music Business
More About

Meridith is originally from Dalton, Georgia. After making a career change from the music industry, she decided to go back to school to figure out what to do next. In fall of 2015, Meridith began the International Affairs undergraduate program at the University of Georgia and quickly found that she wanted to work in human rights. During her time as a SPIA undergraduate, she received opportunities to study in Stellenbosch, South Africa and Chiang Mai, Thailand. Those experiences contextualized some of the concepts that she had been learning in the classrooms of UGA and only cemented her career interest in the field of human rights.

Following completion of her undergraduate program, Meridith relocated to Denver, Colorado where she worked as a research advisor for a non-profit. Through her position, she worked with the foundation to research and vet organizations ranging in a variety of causes, such as homelessness assistance, climate change/environmental awareness, arts in education, addiction, and refugee resettlement to receive donations.

Meridith earned her MA in Political Science and International Affairs at the University of Georgia in 2020, maintaining her focus on human rights research while broadening her research agenda to include international human rights law, contentious politics, political violence, and quantitative methodology. As a master’s student, she began working as a research assistant on the Human Rights Measurement Initiative (HRMI), where she assisted in survey development for the civil and political rights team, served as the testing lead for HRMI’s 2020 Expert Survey, and helped with qualitative data analysis.

Currently, Meridith is a Ph.D. candidate, continuing the work she started in her MA. In addition to studying human rights, political violence, and contentious politics, she has also begun to center some of her work on political economy. She is still a member of HRMI’s Civil and Political Rights Team and is now the Director of the GLOBIS Human Rights Research Lab. Her dissertation work focuses on digital repression – how technology is being weaponized by governments against their own citizens in the context of contentious politics.

When Meridith is not working, she enjoys live music, kayaking, skiing, watching NBA, hiking, and traveling.

Honors, Awards, and Achievements

Thomas P. and M. Jean Lauth Graduate Fellowship, 2020-2021

Clute-Nigro Grant for research, 2019

Course Instruction

– Comparative Political Institutions, Fall 2022

– Human Rights in the European Union, Verona Spring Semester Program 2023

– Repression and Dissent, Stellenbosch Maymester Program 2023

Research Interests

Meridith’s research interests primarily centers around human rights, contentious politics, political violence, political economy as well as political methodology. She is specifically interested in digital repression and human rights measurement.