Written by Cynthia Villalobos, COSS Multimedia and Communications Student Assistant

With the fall semester starting in less than a month, we would like to introduce Political Science Department Chair, Dr. Melanie Ram.

After working in International Development in Washington, DC, Dr. Ram moved to Fresno and has been working on the Fresno State campus since 2006. She received her Ph.D. in Political Science from The George Washington University and has research interests that include, but not limited to, minority rights, discrimination and human rights in Europe.

Dr. Ram recalls her experience traveling through Romania, Bulgaria, and Turkey in the late 1990s on her own with neither a guide nor a plan to have been among her most memorable and impactful experiences. She lived in Czech Republic and Romania and interviewed various public officials and activists there. You can also find Dr. Ram at different cultural events on or around campus – whether in theatre, art or music.

In the spring of 2018, Dr. Ram was appointed the Political Science department chair and will continue on that role for the following academic school year.

We caught up with Dr. Ram with a few Q&As to learn more about her.

Question: How do you feel about leading the Political Science Department?

Answer: Leading the Political Science department enables me to meet more of our students beyond the classroom and to shape the department’s work to best address the needs and interests of all of our students. I feel a special responsibility as the first woman leading the department, and the first to become a full professor in it.

Question: How do you feel about working on campus?

Answer: I strongly support the mission of Fresno State and am happy to be here.  It’s a great place to meet and work with talented faculty from all over the U.S. and the world, to communicate with those in administration to contribute to better university policies and practices, and to get students excited about learning and applying what they’ve learned in the community or the wider world.

Question: What are you looking forward to?

Answer: I look forward to educating students in political science, building their awareness of the world around them, teaching them to think critically, and preparing them for future careers and opportunities where they can apply what they’ve learned and work to build a better world.

Question: What are your future plans?

Answer: On campus, I am excited to continue introducing the intricacies of international politics to new and returning students in my classes and to help all of our students discover the ideas and issues that inspire and motivate them.  I also plan to remain involved in university-level policies and planning, including through the Academic Senate, working with others across campus to continue to make Fresno State an even better place to work and learn.

Question: Tell us about an interesting unknown fact about yourself.

Answer: I am a life-long artist and though I decided to pursue International Relations as my career, art has remained my hobby and informs my perspectives.  I’m also an avid linguist and have studied at least seven different languages, besides English. Like art, language provides important insight into cultures and a vehicle for connections between them.