Melody Buyukozer Dawkins, PhD


Melody Buyukozer Dawkins is a researcher at Slover Linett. She brings training as a developmental psychologist and labor organizer focusing on issues of fairness, access, and equity. Using both quantitative and qualitative methods, Melody prioritizes community-based, participatory approaches to bring the margins to the mainstream via social research. Her work aims to support arts and culture organizations in becoming more equitable, community-oriented, and responsive and supportive to diverse audiences.

Since joining the firm in April 2020, in the early months of the pandemic, Melody has designed, conducted, and interpreted studies for the Library of Congress, Signature Theatre, StoryCorps, the folk music field (in research commissioned by Whippoorwill Arts), The High Line, Morton Arboretum, and Carnegie Museum of Natural History, among other arts, culture, and community organizations. As part of Slover Linett’s pandemic-era, equity-focused national research collaboration, Culture + Community in a Time of Transformation: A Special Edition of Culture Track, Melody co-led and co-authored the 2021 qualitative study, A Place to Be Heard, A Space to Feel Held: Black Perspectives on Creativity, Trustworthiness, Welcome and Well-Being.

Melody’s research at Slover Linett has been featured in the New York Times, Billboard and KJZZ Phoenix (Arizona’s NPR Station), and she has presented findings at gatherings of the American Alliance of Museums, Association of Performing Arts Presenters, Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru), and Terra Foundation for American Art. Upcoming presentations include Dance/USA’s online conference and a special, in-person convening in Boston co-hosted by the Barr Foundation, the Mayor’s Office for Arts & Culture, Boston Public Library, and Slover Linett.

Prior to joining the firm, Melody worked in Turkey and the U.S. to examine the roots of our sense of fairness, equity, and attitudes toward individuals affected by resource disparities. Her doctoral research was published as academic articles and book chapters. She taught developmental psychology research methods at the University of Illinois and is currently serving as a research mentor to high school seniors within the Illinois Science & Technology Institute’s Mentor Matching program.

Melody earned her Bachelor’s degree from Bilkent University and her M.Sc. and Ph.D. in developmental psychology, with graduate minors in social and clinical/community psychology, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In her personal time, Melody loves reading, photography, film, traveling, and exploring her newfound interests in graphic memoirs, and cooking.