Melissa moved to Seattle from Long Beach, California in 2009. It was her move to Seattle and travel abroad that she discovered her interest in the urban environment and everything that makes it function: transit, community, parks, policy, and economy. In 2012, she decided to start school to study urban design. While attending classes at Seattle Central College, she continued her work as a hairstylist to support her education. After completing her general education at Seattle Central College, she was accepted to the University of Washington and the Community, Environment, and Planning program in the College of Built Environments. There she studied urban planning, landscape architecture, design, community organizing, and community engagement. She is most proud of the work she completed for her capstone project: Re/imagining Summit Ave. This project was a robust proposal for added green space to an underserved community.