Originally from Laramie, Wyoming, Megan Reif earned her B.A. in Political Science from Wake Forest University. Before entering graduate school, Megan conducted research in Pakistan and Afghanistan as a Fulbright Scholar, worked at the Afghanistan Foundation, and later served as Associate Director of Development for Health at The Carter Center, where she handled government and foundation relations and proposal development for programs in Sudan, sub-Saharan Africa, North Korea, and Latin America.
With general fields in comparative politics and Middle East and Islamic Studies and training in Geographic Information Systems (GIS)/Spatial Analysis, Megan's research and teaching interests include political violence and terrorism, corruption, democratization, electoral systems and administration, and temporal dynamics of electoral manipulation and reform.
Her current research explores institutional explanations for variation in the micro-level patterns of political intimidation and violence, including the timing, tactics, targets and actors involved. Megan is interested in applying and teaching quantitative and qualitative methods for studying sensitive topics, spatio-temporal processes and informal, illegal, covert, and other "unobservable" political phenomena. For her dissertation, Making Democracy Safe: Institutional Causes and Consequences of Electoral Coercion and Violence, Megan created original cross-national databases on global electoral crimes laws, violence in national elections worldwide since 1945, and incident-level Election Violence Incidents Databases (EVID) for Algeria, Egypt, Ghana, Newark (NJ), Pakistan, and Sri Lanka since the 1960s.
Megan conducted archival and qualitative field research in Newark, Algeria, and Pakistan and worked with the Election Violence Education and Resolution Program as a Manatt Democracy Studies Fellow at the International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES). During Pakistan's 2008 National Assembly elections, Megan collaborated with the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) to implement media monitoring of election violence and conducted FAFEN's parallel vote tabulation analysis. In anticipation of expanding her work on electoral reform and violence to additional regions and countries, she did exploratory research in Bolivia, Argentina and Indonesia.
She hopes her studies will shed light on when and where democratization processes are vulnerable to violence, implement methodologies for tracking and preventing it, and identify institutional and administrative structures that make electoral processes less vulnerable to violence. Click here to see photos of Megan's experiences in the field.