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Melissa Vezard

Pronouns: she/her

Melissa Vezard graduated from California State University, Monterey Bay in 2022 with a B.S. in Marine Science and a minor in Biology. During her undergraduate career, she pursued her interest in marine conservation on campus, nationwide, and abroad. She volunteered in Turkey with Dekamer Sea Turtle Research Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre, where she collected sea turtle data and utilized her multilingual skills to educate tourists about the turtles. She learned how the data collected was shared with local fishers to protect sea turtles. On campus, she joined the Environmental Physiology Lab, where she conducted research in collaboration with NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Center to measure coral growth, reproductive, and mortality rates after a climate change induced bleaching event. She then conducted research in the Maryland Sea Grant REU, where she applied spatial statistics to visualize the habitat use of leatherbacks and determined the effects of vessels on the turtles’ movement. Both these research projects had conservation implications sparking her passion for using science to inform policy. Melissa is currently attending the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, where she hopes to strengthen her background in policy through a specialization in Coastal Marine Resource Management and the Communications focus. She wants to pursue a career using science to create policy at the international level to protect coastal communities and marine ecosystems vulnerable to climate change.

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