Originally from Montreal, Quebec, Melissa earned a BA (History) at McGill University on Pratt Fellowship and J. W. McConnell Award, graduating with Great Distinction. She continued with BFA studies in contemporary dance at the Université du Québec à Montréal. Supported by a Dean’s Fellowship and an Alliance Fellowship at Columbia University and a Tuition Scholarship at the London School of Economics, her Master’s dissertation research centred on international humanitarian policy following civil war, focusing on the immigration and refugee policies of Mexico for the Spanish Civil War’s Republican exiles. Over the years she has worked in France, Mexico, Cambodia and Laos in international development and education. In New York, she has worked at the Guantanamo Public Memory Project, and at Charlie Rose Productions. She previously worked as a Technical Analyst with the United Nations Population Fund, working on the ICPD (International Conference on Population and Development) Beyond 2014 Global Review.