Veriene Melo is a research and program assistant with the Program on Poverty and Governance (PovGov) at CDDRL. She graduated from Stanford University in 2012 with an MA in Latin American Studies and was the recipient of a full fellowship from the Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho Foundation, which is awarded to promising students from Latin America. She also holds a BA with honors in International Studies and Spanish from the University of Colorado Denver.
Born and raised in the Baixada Fluminense in Rio's North zone, Veriene feels passionate about issues of socio-economic development in disenfranchised communities, social justice education, and public security in the Latin America region, particularly in her home country of Brazil. At PovGov, under the leadership of Professor Beatriz Magaloni, she works on several policy-oriented research projects about the Pacification security program, police reform, criminal violence, and youth education, all with a focus in Rio de Janeiro's favelas and peripheries. Some of her main responsibilities include: helping design qualitative and quantitative instruments for data collection, taking part in fieldwork and transcribing interviews/observations, entering, coding and analyzing data using the appropriate analysis tools, preparing papers and briefs describing and interpreting study findings, as well as conducting and annotating literature reviews.
Veriene is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Social Science and Comparative Education at UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies (GSE&IS) and a Fellow from the Lemann foundation, a non-profit organization that is helping train a generation of leaders in some of the world's best universities committed to improving the educational scenario in Brazil. Her dissertation project seeks to investigate into the individual and community benefits of a Rio-based non-formal educational program attending hundreds of youth from some of Rio's poorest communities using qualitative methodological tools and a critical pedagogy theoretical framework.