Melanie Bowers, Ph.D.

Headshot of Dr. Bowers


Phone: (360) 650-6270
Office: Arntzen Hall 415


Dr. Melanie Bowers is an American Politics and Public Policy whose work is motivated by a deep desire to understand the political and institutional drivers of inequality. Her research falls into three categories: housing and homelessness policy, LGBTQIA+ politics and policy, and urban politics, with a focus on intergovernmental dynamics and responsiveness. In her current book project, she combines her professional and volunteer experience working in community and economic development with her academic interests in urban politics and housing policy to investigate the drivers of municipal responses to homelessness, arguing that municipal homeless policy reflects rational choices between competing political forces. In addition to the book, her research is currently exploring how institutional and political arrangements affect localities’ ability to reduce homelessness, the way NIMBY feelings towards homeless services are structured, and how LGBTQIA political culture shapes engagement in protest movements. Her work has appeared in journals like Political Behavior, Social Science Quarterly, and Public Administration Review among others. In addition to research, she is a dedicated teacher who is passionate about undergraduate education. Motivated by a desire to reach diverse learners, bridge digital and physical space, and create engaging learning environments, Dr. Bowers is particularly interested in helping students link academic understandings with lived experiences. She teaches courses on a variety of political and policy topics.