Melissa Carlson is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at U.C. Berkeley, specializing in international relations, comparative politics, and methodology. She will join CISAC in 2019-2020 as a Middle East Initiative Pre-doctoral Fellow. Broadly, her research examines the dynamics of military partnerships between state governments and foreign militant groups. Melissa's dissertation develops an organizational theory of third-party provision of support: when foreign militant groups and state armed forces share similar organizational characteristics, they are more likely to form joint commands, carry out joint attacks, and provide each other with advanced weapons systems. Melissa's other research interests focus on factors that influence informal cooperation between states, and on how refugee perceptions of host communities, host governments, and aid organizations influence refugee decision-making. Prior to beginning her PhD at U.C. Berkeley, Melissa worked as Public Information consultant for the International Organization for Migration, Iraq Mission in Jordan and Iraqi Kurdistan. Melissa has a M.A. in Political Science from U.C. Berkeley, and a B.A. in International Relations and Politics, Philosophy, and Economics from Claremont McKenna College.