Melanie Kolbe

Comparative Politics

Melanie Kolbe is a Ph.D. Candidate majoring in Comparative Politics and minoring in International Relations. Her dissertation focuses on the factors impacting highly-skilled immigration policy-making.

A native of Berlin, Melanie studied Political Science and North American Studies at the University of Rostock on a fellowship of the Konrad-Adenauer Foundation. During her studies she interned twice at the German Bundestag. After she finished her B.A. in 2008, she received the opportunity to start the M.A. in International Affairs at the University of Georgia. This is where she discovered her interests in topics of immigration policy and immigrant integration. Being a foreigner herself, experiencing transnational life, cultural adaptation and the tightly regulated policy space for immigrants, she decided to explore these topics in depth.

Since starting a Ph.D. program in 2010, her research projects have ranged from historical cases of immigrant integration, to determinants of forced migration, immigration policy for highly-skilled immigrants, and immigrant public opinion on welfare entitlement. For her research Melanie has received several awards and grants, such as ISA’s 2011 Grand Prize in the Jim Winkates Graduate Student Paper Competition and the Graduate School’s 2014 Dean’s Award.

Another passion of Melanie’s is teaching comparative and international politics. She has served as an instructor for introduction classes to American Government, Comparative Politics and Global Issues, as well as upper –division classes on Comparative Political Economy and Comparative Political Institutions. In recognition of her success in teaching, she has been awarded UGA’s Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award in 2013, and has been twice nominated for the Excellence in Teaching Award since.

Lastly, Melanie has also been active in the graduate student community. To promote graduate student mentoring in teaching and professionalization, she founded the Association for Pedagogy in Politics & International Affairs (APPIA) in 2013. In addition, she initiated a student and faculty group for women in the School of Public and International Affairs, to create greater support and mentoring for female graduate students.

She is looking forward to finishing her PhD in 2015.


M.A., University of Georgia 2010, International Affairs

B.A., University of Rostock 2008, Political Science and North American Studies

Of Note

  • Spring 2014 Graduate School Dean’s Award (Graduate School), small research grant, University of Georgia, $1,000
  • Spring 2013 Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award, Center for Teaching and Learning, University of Georgia
  • Fall 2011 Grand Prize in Jim Winkates Graduate Student Paper Competition, International Studies Association-South Region, $250 
  • Spring 2011 Recognition as Distinguished Teaching Assistant, the School of Public and International Affairs, University of Georgia
  •  Fall 2009 – Present Graduate Assistantship, School of Public and International Affairs, University of Georgia.School for Public and International Affairs, University of Georgia, Spring 2011
  • 2008-2009 Study Abroad Stipend, Konrad Adenauer Foundation, $8,000 Euros
  • 2006-2010 Konrad Adenauer Foundation Fellow, Konrad Adenauer Foundation

Research Interests

Melanie Kolbe focuses on immigration and immigrant integration policies, but also the larger fields of political economy, citizenship studies and immigrant public opinion.