Maria McCollester

Photo of Maria McCollester
Political Scientist
Pittsburgh Office


Ph.D. in political science, Boston College; M.P.A. in public administration, University of Pennsylvania; B.A. in political science, Indiana University of PA; B.A. in history, Indiana University of PA


Maria McCollester (she/her) is a political scientist located in RAND's Pittsburgh office. McCollester's educational and professional experience coalesces around institutional and organizational development, coordination, and culture, especially within the Executive Branch and military, program evaluation and assessment, both within and outside of government, and legislative, legal, and regulatory analysis. Her broad research interests include public administration, environmental policy, national and homeland security, bureaucracy, and the legislative process. Prior to coming to RAND, McCollester completed her Ph.D. in Political Science at Boston College. Her dissertation research focused upon the development of of the United States' federally protected public land system and its connection to presidential power. Preceding and during her time at Boston College, McCollester worked for a number of governmental agencies and non-profit organizations, including as a policy analyst with the Government Accountability Office.

Selected Publications

Maria McCollester, Michelle E. Miro, Kristin Van Abel, Building Resilience Together: Military and Local Government Collaboration for Climate Adaptation, RAND (RR-3014-RC), 2020

Kathryn A. Edwards, Maria McCollester, Brian Phillips, Hannah-Acheson Field, Isabel Leamon, Noah Johnson, Maria C. Lytell, Compensation and Benefits for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Workers A Comparison of the Federal Government and the Private Sector, RAND (RR-4267-OSD), 2021

Geoffrey McGovern, Maria McCollester, Douglas Ligor, Sheng Li, Douglas Yeung, Laura Kupe, The Role of Intellectual Property in U.S. Homeland Security, RAND (RR-3039-DHS), 2019