Melina Platas, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Social Science, NYUAD

Melina Platas

Assistant Professor of Political Science, Social Science

Affiliation: NYU Abu Dhabi


Melina's research focuses on comparative political and human development. The regional focus of her research is sub-Saharan Africa, where she has worked and conducted fieldwork in Uganda, Rwanda, Malawi, Nigeria, South Africa and Ghana. She employs a variety of research methods and data sources, including quantitative analysis of large household surveys, GIS, archival research, ethnography, and survey experiments. She also employs large-scale field experiments to study political behavior and local governance in developing countries. In addition to conducting research, Melina seeks to find ways to bridge the gap between academic research and policy making, particularly in East Africa.

Previously, she wrote for the Daily Monitor and The Independent magazine, based in Kampala, Uganda. She blogs occasionally for the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage, and continues to participate on radio and television in Uganda. 

Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Evidence in Governance and Politics (EGAP) Information and Accountability Metaketa, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the International Republican Institute (IRI), among others. She was awarded a Fulbright in Uganda from 2008-2009.

Melina received her Ph.D. in Political Science from Stanford University in 2016, and her B.A. in Human Biology from Stanford University in 2007.

For more information, please visit Melina Platas' website.

Research Interests

Comparative politics, African politics, voting behavior and elections, global health, political economy of development, Islam in Africa


  • Identity and Culture in Politics
  • Health and Governance

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