Melissa received her Bachelor's in Marine Biology from the College of Charelston, and is currently working on a graduate certificate in Fisheries Management from Oregon State University. Upon completing her undergrad, she worked as a North Pacific Fisheries Observer for five years. Melissa began working for NOAA at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle in 2011.
As a Research Fish Biologist with the FRAM Division, Melissa's work has primarily focused on assessing the reproductive health in groundfish. This cooperative research is done in coordination with multiple NOAA survey, ODFW, and WDFW. Reproductive samples are collected from species of interest, and histologically assessed in the laboratory. This data is used in stock assessments models that estimate spawning stock biomass, understanding spatio-temporal variability, and for ecosystem considerations. Melissa also serves as a chief scientist and/or back deck biologist on the West Coast Groundfish Trawl Survey. This annual survey is conducted on chartered fishing vessels and spans the entire Wes Coast. Melissa is very passionate about mentoring, outreach, and leadership. She currently serves as the chair of the Workplace Engagement and Collaboration Team, and a member of the Employee Association.