Dr. Sharon Melzer has expertise in criminology, transnational crime, and illicit trade and has held positions in academia and government. She has been with TraCCC at George Mason University since 2016. Before joining George Mason, she served as a Senior Advisor for Transnational Threats and Illicit Trade/Franklin Fellow with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL). While at the State Department she organized and chaired the United States Government Interagency Working Group to Combat Illicit Tobacco and co-chaired, with the United Kingdom’s Her Majesty’s Revenues and Customs (HMRC), the OECD tobacco sub-group of the OECD’s Task Force – Charting Illicit Trade. She also held an Adjunct Faculty appointment with the Department of Defense’s Africa Center for Strategic Studies at the National Defense University. Currently, she also serves as a Strategic Policy Specialist with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
Prior to her return to Washington, Dr. Melzer served as an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at the State University of New York (SUNY) – College at Plattsburgh. During her academic career, she has taught courses on organized crime, white-collar crime, human trafficking, terrorism, transnational crime, research methods, criminological theory, introduction to criminology and the criminal justice system, and designed, directed, and implemented SUNY Plattsburgh’s first Study Abroad in Criminology program. While completing her doctorate, she was an adjunct professor/lecturer at American University and Marymount University. Dr. Melzer has published in various outlets and presented her work at national and international conferences. She has provided service to several national professional organizations, including serving as an Executive Director of the International Association for the Study of Organized Crime (IASOC). While at Penn State, she also held a joint position as a Research, Evaluation, and Financial Analyst with the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing and Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.
Dr. Melzer’s research interests include the illicit trade in tobacco, transnational organized crime, human trafficking, counterfeit goods, and threat financing. She holds a PhD in Justice, Law and Society with a concentration in Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption from American University, a Master of Public Administration degree from the Pennsylvania State University, a Master of Science degree in Criminology from Florida State University, and Bachelors of Arts in Administration of Justice and History from the Pennsylvania State University.