Melissa started out at Mesa College with the Puente program. While in the program she did exceptionally well and demonstrated great leadership, including holding the treasurer position in the club.
Last summer, she was accepted into the Bridges to the Future Scholar Program which is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. Through her affiliation with Bridges, she had the opportunity to work on a study called project FIESTA held at the Center for Behavioral Epidemiology and Community Health (C-BEACH) at the San Diego State Research Foundation. This community based study involved her working with students and families in the Latino and Pacific Islander communities who had latent tuberculosis. This project offered low cost, or free, doctor visits, tuberculosis INH prescriptions, and counseling services.
She then started working at a Biochemistry lab with Dr. Russell at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. Here she currently works on purifying an enzyme called PFK-1. Once the purification of PFK-1 enzyme is complete, experiments are conducted to check for activities of this enzyme
In addition to her research, her most recent accomplishments include being awarded the Association for Women in Science (AWIS) scholarship and the Mexican American National Association (MANA) scholarship.
Melissa is on course to transfer to the University of California, San Diego next summer where she will major in Biochemistry/Cell Biology. She also plans to major in either Latin American Studies or Ethnic Studies. She then plans to attend graduate school and become a university professor while conducting research.