Melinda is a doctoral candidate in the Educational Policy and Planning PhD Program and a Women’s and Gender Studies Portfolio candidate at The University of Texas at Austin. During her PhD program Melinda worked as a graduate research and teaching assistant in the Department of Educational Administration. Among other individual and collaborative endeavors, she also interned at the Texas House of Representatives, was named a UCEA David L. Clark National Graduate Fellow, and served as founding and former Managing Editor of the Texas Education Review. Chaired by Dr. Jennifer Jellison Holme, Melinda’s dissertation research is a two-part qualitative study that utilizes feminist critical policy analysis and in-depth interviews to examine landmark Texas policy, which mandated the creation of K-12 educator training on the identification and prevention of minor trafficking. A first of its kind for the educational policy community, her research was selected for financial support by a Graduate School Named Continuing Fellowship.
In 2011 Melinda left her career as a high school teacher, which included teaching English abroad as a Fulbright Fellow and nine years in public high school education. She also recently concluded six years of administrative social studies curriculum work at the Region XIII Education Service Center and Austin Independent School District. Upon completion of her doctorate in May 2015, Melinda looks forward to engaging in interdisciplinary research, working with interprofessionals on advocacy programming for marginalized youth, and teaching educational leadership and policy students as a university faculty member.
Melinda received her BSED in Secondary Education, BA in History, and Minor in Law cum laude from Bucknell University. As a James Madison Memorial Fellow she obtained a MEd in Curriculum and Instruction summa cum laude with a focus on federal policy at The University of Texas at Austin.