Ph.D. Candidate in Public Administration & Policy

School of Public & International Affairs

University of Georgia

Office: 406 Baldwin Hall

Email: melanie.waddell25@uga.edu




I am a doctoral candidate in Public Administration and Policy at the University of Georgia. I expect to graduate in May 2024. I study governments’ efforts to plan for, understand, and respond to natural weather-related disasters, crises, and emergencies, primarily through a public finance and public policy lens.

My current work focuses on states as important managers in emergency management networks, local and state policy planning for severe disasters, and how budgeting decisions for disasters are tied to financial outcomes for states. My solo-authored paper, “Repeat Audit Findings: How FEMA Responds to Feedback”, is currently revise and resubmit at the International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction. It focuses on questions of recurring problems experienced by local governments impacted by disasters and how FEMA handles that feedback, with findings showing that feedback is not utilized consistently, and that there are regional variations in addressing these recurring problems.

I have taught well-received sections of Introduction to American Government as a Teaching Assistant. I have also taught two courses, Introduction to Public Administration and Public Administration and Budgeting, as an Instructor of Record. My course evaluations are consistently high, and I won the Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award in February 2022.

Prior to my time at UGA, I received my Master’s from Northeastern University in Political Science, I worked at the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations in Washington D.C., and I worked as a paralegal at a law firm specializing in corporate nursing home negligence.