Meinhart Melissa PhotoMelissa Meinhart, PhD

Melissa Meinhart has a PhD in Social Policy from Columbia University’s School of Social Work with a social science concentration in economics. Her PhD dissertation integrated structural equation modeling to explore how latent class measurement of social support may be integrated within resiliency models among migrant populations at risk of depression. She is currently working as a consultant for Dr. Lindsay Stark as the project coordinator for a collaboration between Washington University and UNICEF to examine gender-based violence in emergencies through several research studies. Her ongoing research focuses on the measurement and examination of underlying constructs that influence gendered inequities and social discordance within humanitarian emergencies.

Research interests:

  • Gender based violence in humanitarian emergencies and among migrant populations
  • Resiliency frameworks
  • Econometric modeling
  • Social policy analysis

Ilana Seff Headshot 2021
Ilana Seff, PhD
Research Assistant Professor

Ilana Seff is a Research Assistant Professor in the Brown School. Her ongoing research focuses on improving the lives of vulnerable and marginalized populations across the globe using evidence-based solutions. Her broad research experience and interests include the prevention of violence against women and girls, particularly in humanitarian settings, social norms related to violence, and the psychosocial well-being and mental health of refugees and displaced populations. Dr. Seff’s work employs mixed-methods approaches to evaluate and inform interventions, emphasizing the importance of coupling qualitative insights with innovative and valid quantitative measures. She recently completed her Doctorate in Public Health at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, and has an MPH from George Washington University.

Jennie Cottle, PhD
Senior Scientist

Jennie Cottle is a Senior Research Scientist in the Brown School. Her research focuses on immigration policies and politics in local, national and transnational settings, with an emphasis on social and economic inclusion for vulnerable populations. She holds a PhD in Political Science from the Institut des Hautes Etudes d’Amérique Latine at the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, and a Master’s degree in International Security, with concentrations in Human Rights and Latin America, from Sciences Po University. Her PhD research centered on the US sanctuary movement and the dual processes of immigration criminalization and local policy resistance. She utilized a mixed-methods approach based on field work and a qualitative and quantitative analysis of the sanctuary policy database. Her recent work contributed to the global evidence base on the intersection of gender and gender-based violence with economic inclusion and mental health programming for forcibly displaced populations in humanitarian contexts.