Helen Overly Scholarship
University of Colorado at Boulder
Melissa is pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Civil Engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder, with an anticipated graduation of May 2022.
Melissa was inspired by her upbringing and childhood in Alaska- Transportation in remote Alaskan areas is often nonexistent. The arctic is an extremely harsh environment, which can make design and planning (i.e., equipment, materials) for transportation infrastructure rather difficult. Melissa chose transportation engineering for her education because she wanted to aid in providing remote areas with essential transportation services. Her favorite course she has taken is mechanics of materials, she loved learning about material failure and how/why it occurs. Her dream job is forensic engineering. Her advisor, Dr. Cristina Torres-Machi, inspires Melissa. Cristina has acted as one of her graduate advisors and mentors for the past 2.5 years and she is incredibly grateful for her involvement in her education. In a perfect world, her preferred mode of transportation would have a limited carbon footprint. Considering the transportation methods currently available, Melissa would want to migrate to primarily biking and taking the public bus. Her favorite activities and hobbies are painting, yoga, backpacking, hiking, and spending time with her two rescue cats. If she could vacation anywhere in the world, she would want to go to New Zealand to spend some time hiking and backpacking there. After graduating with her PhD, Melissa hopes to begin her career in forensic engineering. Additionally, she hopes to celebrate my graduation by taking herself on vacation, adopting a dog from the animal shelter, and beginning the process of buying a home.