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Undergraduate Institution

UC Santa Cruz

Graduate Institution

Stony Brook University


University of Washington


Director of Conservation Programming DDCSP UW; former Director and Principal Investigator DDCSP Northern Arizona University

Current Location

Redmond, WA


Lancaster, CA

Personal Interests

  • yoga
  • birdwatching
  • cooking
  • theater
  • Dancing
  • Reading
  • Travel
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Backpacking
  • stargazing

Professional Interests

  • Arts, Music, and Culture
  • Conservation
  • Education (Higher Ed)
  • Land Stewardship
  • Natural Resource Management
  • Social/Environmental Justice and Equity
  • Wildlife, Ornithology, Endangered or Threatened Species
Melissa received her Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolution from Stony Brook University and served as a National Science Foundation Minority Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Columbia University. Her research focused on avian evolutionary ecology and conservation in Latin America, primarily Nicaragua, where she also engaged in participatory action research with local communities to advise farming cooperatives on the impact of land management practices and ecotourism initiatives on avian diversity. She has taught ecology and conservation field courses in Brazil and Nicaragua, mentored students from the US and Latin America, and developed environmental education curriculum while serving as a Fulbright Scholar. She served as the Director and later Principal Investigator for the DDCS Program at Northern Arizona University, and continues to serve as Affiliated Faculty in the Department of Earth and Sustainability. She is currently Director of Conservation Programming at DDCSP@UW.