Melissa earned her B.A. in International Studies with a disciplinary focus on Anthropology at Southwestern University and her M.A. in Sociology at The University of Memphis. Melissa’s broad research interests include race and ethnicity, immigration, and higher education. Her work examines the barriers and discrimination Latina immigrant mothers experience, how and why sanctuary-related policies emerge at local and state levels, and the experiences of Asian American and Latinx students’ participation in panethnic student organizations. She aims to examine the experiences of immigrants and children of immigrants from a lens that shifts away from a deficit perspective and instead highlights how immigrants and their children build community and draw on existing social capital.