Melody Ellis Valdini (Ph.D. 2006, University of California, San Diego) is an associate professor of political science, the academic director of PSU’s Center for Women’s Leadership, and the honors program advisor for the political science department. Her research focuses on the consequences of institutional design, with a particular focus on electoral systems, political parties, and representation. She has published in the American Journal of Political Science, Electoral Studies, and Politics & Gender, and recently won the Carrie Chapman Catt Prize for a project on gender stereotypes and political corruption. In addition, she recently co-authored a book on the consequences of institutions on the balance of democratic ideals, The Character of Democracy: How Institutions Shape Politics, published by Oxford University Press. She teaches courses on comparative politics, with a focus on representation, institutions, and the regions of Latin America and Europe.