Megan Shannon photoI am an associate professor and director of undergraduate studies in the department of political science. My research explores how international institutions influence human and interstate security. International and civil violence occur because relevant political actors cannot commit to ceasing violent behavior. I show that international law and organizations help actors overcome commitment problems, forgo the use of violence, and reach peaceful settlements.

My work with Lisa Hultman and Jacob Kathman reveals that United Nations peacekeepers reduce battlefield violence in civil wars (American Political Science Review 2014). Our research also shows that UN peacekeepers protect civilians from violence in civil wars (American Journal of Political Science 2013). My ongoing research explores the cause and effects of personnel shortfalls in UN peacekeeping missions. 

I received an undergraduate degree from the University of South Dakota in 1999 and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Iowa in 2005. I joined the faculty of the University of Colorado in the fall of 2014.