“If I gain knowledge I have everything.  If a friend gives me knowledge, he gives riches.  The friend who gives you wisdom is the one that loves you.”

Muchinda Madzoke (Mr. Magwisanye), as translated by Adnomore Chirindira

Melissa_tree

I was born in the San Francisco Bay Area – sixth generation Californian on my maternal grandmother’s side.  I grew up among oaks and native California wildlife. I care passionately about how we manage the ecosystems we live in and depend on. I also care passionately about the use of knowledge to empower people, especially people who typically don’t have a voice in science or in environmental management.  The quote from Mr. Magwisanye beautifully sums up the way I feel about teaching and outreach: knowledge should be a gift, something that helps someone, and something that is given freely.

So my core research goal is to improve the sustainability of Californian and global ecosystems using sophisticated data synthesis techniques that facilitate broad public engagement with science. I work extensively with pre-existing, long-term datasets to improve our understanding of complex social-ecological systems. My background is highly interdisciplinary: I hold a Bachelor of Science in Physics (with a minor in Psychology), a Master of Science in Geological Sciences (Geophysics – Seismology), and a PhD in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management (Statistical Ecology). And I continue to seek out interdisciplinary projects and affiliations wherever I go: I am currently a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability Fellow, affiliated with the Science and Justice Center at UC Santa Cruz and with The Muonde Trust in Zimbabwe.

You can find out more here about my professional work. For the condensed version, see my list of publications; for a little more detail, you can find narratives describing most of those projects under Research, Outreach, and Teaching.