Melissa is an experienced refugee services and adult education professional, hailing from both New York and Boston. She earned her B.A. in history at the University of Pittsburgh and did a minor in Italian just for fun. In college she studied abroad in South Africa, meeting refugees from all over the continent. This spurred her interest in working with refugees in the United States. Melissa then interned with refugee resettlement agencies while finishing her B.A. at Pitt and served for two years in AmeriCorps, teaching English to adult refugees and immigrants.
After AmeriCorps, Melissa pursued her master’s in conflict resolution at Brandeis University, where she had the great fortune of meeting and studying with Anita Hill and took up Chinese because she could. Melissa’s master’s thesis focused on how programs for adults learning English as a second language can be more inclusive of refugees and other individuals with low to no literacy skills, which is her specialty. She then conducted a research projected for the Oasis Center in Tennessee, an LGBTQ resource center, and is currently working as a program coordinator for Literacy Pittsburgh.
In her current role, Melissa manages volunteers working with refugee and immigrant students as well as her organization’s citizenship grant. Melissa lives with her partner and their cat and is getting married in September of 2019.