Science and Policy Analyst
Melissa is an expert in contextualizing SELC’s work, which helps lead to the greatest impact. She supports SELC program advocacy by providing scientific and policy context to SELC comments, communications, and legal arguments. She informs SELC program strategy by providing factual context to team leaders, office directors, and organizational leadership. Program teams use this information to develop strategies made stronger by her relevant expertise on science and policy.
She also cultivates working relationships with researchers, academics, state and federal resource professionals, scientific stakeholder groups, and peer professionals working with SELC’s partner organizations across the region.
“I have a special passion for protecting biodiversity and endangered species, particularly in the marine ecosystem,” Melissa shares. “I am most excited about the work SELC and its partners are doing to save the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale from extinction. These magnificent whales are barely hanging on—in fact, there are currently more scientists and experts working to save this species than whales that remain. Science and policy are the keys to saving this species.”
Melissa first joined SELC in 2016 as a science and policy summer intern, and returned full-time in 2018 as an offshore drilling research associate. In 2021, she moved into her current role. She has also worked in environmental education, teaching youth in coastal North Carolina about marine biology and the importance of understanding and protecting the local environment.
A lifelong North Carolinian, Melissa considers the North Carolina coast unparalleled for beauty and species diversity.
“The south is where the most treasured lands, waters, and wildlife intersect with some of the biggest environmental challenges,” she says. “I love being able to help SELC use science to secure environmental protections for the place I’ve called home for the past 30 years.”
- Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment, program coordinator
- The Children’s Museum of Wilmington, educator and group events coordinator
- M.E.M, Duke University, Nicholas School of the Environment
- B.S., University of North Carolina Wilmington, summa cum laude
- With SELC since 2018