Political Science & International Affairs
College of Humanities & Social Sciences
Dr. Olivo graduated from Macalester College with a B.A. in International Studies and German, completed two years of graduate studies in Political Science and German at the Free University of Berlin, Germany, and earned her Ph.D. in Political Science (with concentrations in comparative politics and political theory and a minor in German Studies) at Indiana University—Bloomington.
Dr. Olivo has taught a wide variety of courses at UNC since 2001 and earlier at Antioch College, the University of Denver, and the University of Colorado at Denver. At UNC she teaches American Political Philosophy, Colorado Politics, European Politics, Fundamentals of Politics, Global Issues, Politics of Education, Senior Seminar in Comparative Politics, Transitions to Democracy, and Women and Politics. In the summer of 2011 she was a visiting professor at the Kazakhstan Institute for Management, Economics and Strategic Research in Almaty, Kazakhstan, where she taught a class in Western Civilizations.
Recognizing a lack of content-related professional development for K-12 teachers, in 2004 Dr. Olivo founded UNC’s Institute for Civic Education, which she directed until 2015. She has offered seminars and workshops in civics to hundreds of K-12 teachers on such topics as women and politics, the fall of communism, European identity, comparing democracies, and the Colorado Model Content Standards in Civics. Twice she has been awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to direct a Summer Seminar for School Teachers for four weeks in Germany and the Czech Republic on “East-Central Europe, 1989: The History and Philosophy of the Peaceful Revolutions.” She also worked with high school students for more than a decade as a district, state and national judge for the We the People: Citizens and the Constitution program.
Dr. Olivo is an active community member at UNC. Since 2011 she has chaired the College of Humanities and Social Sciences Diversity Advisory Board. She has also served on the Undergraduate Success Committee, the Center for Honors, Scholars and Leadership’s Faculty Advisory Council, the Committee on Civic Engagement and others. She completed the Safe Zone training to become an ally for the GLBT community on campus and participated three times as a small group facilitator for Catalyst: A Social Justice Retreat.
Her current research focuses on voluntary associations and far-right extremist movements in eastern Germany.
Dr. Olivo’s scholarly work has been published in several academic journals, including Journal of Political Science Education, Democratization, Perspectives on Politics, German Politics and Society, Proteus: A Journal of Ideas, and Polity.
Her book Creating a Democratic Civil Society in Eastern Germany (Palgrave, 2001) was chosen as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title. Dr. Olivo was nominated as Outstanding Supportive Faculty Member at the GLBTA Recognition Awards.