Melissa received her B.S. from the College of William & Mary in Virginia in 2015. As an undergraduate, her thesis focused on how intraspecific competition and herbivory affected growth and secondary chemical defenses in common milkweed. Common milkweed serves as a significant food source for the monarch butterfly, and her research sought to delve into drivers of plant-insect interactions. In 2015 she joined the research team at Blandy Experimental Farm as a doctoral student studying ecology. Her research interests include invasion ecology and plant-insect interactions.