Dr. Elizabeth Mendenhall earned her Ph.D. in International Relations in 2017 from Johns Hopkins University and is now an Associate Professor in the Department of Marine Affairs at the University of Rhode Island, with a (limited) joint appointment in Political Science. Her research centers on the ocean governance regime, especially the Law of the Sea Convention. Recent work addresses maritime nuclear transit, artificial island building, sea level rise, marine plastic debris, the South China Sea, strategic nuclear submarines, COVID-19 and cruise ships, and the ‘Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction’ negotiations. She teaches the graduate course "International Ocean Law" and the general education course "International Politics of the Ocean."
Dr. Mendenhall is an active member of her community. She is the Graduate Program Director in the Department of Marine Affairs. She serves on the Membership Committee of the URI chapter of AAUP and the Executive Committee of the Environmental Studies Section at the International Studies Association. From 2018-2022, she served as an Associate Editor of Frontiers of Marine Science, and from 2022 she has been a member of the Advisory Board at Ocean Development & International Law. In addition to these academic service roles, Dr. Mendenhall is a member of the Board of Directors for Save the Bay, a nonprofit dedicated to protection of the Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island.