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Kirstie Lynn Dobbs, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Practice

Merrimack College

Supports the Empowerment of Youth and Communities

About Me

Dr. Kirstie Lynn Dobbs is an Assistant Professor of Practice in the Department of Political Science and Public Policy. She is the Director of the Early College Program and Faculty Community Engagement Strategy at Merrimack College in North Andover, MA. She also serves as Special Assistant to the Vice-President of Enrollment for Community Engagement at Merrimack. In her dissertation, she analyzed why youth in Tunisia were so active during the 2011 Arab Spring revolution but were still less likely than older generations to vote at the ballot box in the aftermath of the democratic transition.


Dr. Dobbs applied her specialization on voter turnout as a Manatt Research Fellow at the International Foundation for Electoral Systems and has presented this research to the United States Agency for International Development and the Arab Reform Initiative. She currently serves as a research consultant for the European Partnership for Democracy on creating a global Youth Political Participation Index. She has op-ed articles in the Foreign Policy Journal and invited articles in Ace: Electoral Knowledge Network, ORIENT Magazine, and the American Political Science Association's Middle East and North Africa Politics Section Symposium. Peer-reviewed journal articles appear in Democratization, The British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Representation, Acta Politica, and PS: Political Science and Politics.

She has expanded her regional focus on the Middle East and North Africa to explore the civic engagement of youth in immigrant communities. In her book project titled Young Blood in the Immigrant City, she explores the global activism of migrant and first-generation young people with a case study focused on youth at the local level in the United States. Young Blood provides insight into how cities, states, and countries worldwide can remain resilient in the face of democratic uncertainty by investing in youth and believing in young people’s creativity, wisdom, and insight into their own communities. 

Dr. Dobbs also engages in multiple civically engaged research projects with community partners investigating how educators, practitioners, academics, and civil society can support youth empowerment after the COVID-19 pandemic. She created a summer research experience for first-year students to conduct independent research projects using youth participatory action research practices. This summer course also engages with a summer civic engagement program for middle schoolers she co-created and co-facilitated with faculty and undergraduate students called Youth Voice. The research from this program is published in Issues in Interdisciplinary Studies (forthcoming) and a book chapter published by Palgrave in the Political Pedagogies series (forthcoming). 

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