Dr. Melissa Mark – Program Director
Melissa received her Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolution from Stony Brook University and served as a National Science Foundation Minority Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Columbia University. Her research focused on avian evolutionary ecology and conservation in Latin America, primarily Nicaragua, where she also engaged in participatory action research with local communities to advise farming cooperatives on the impact of land management practices and ecotourism initiatives on avian diversity. She has taught ecology and conservation field courses in Brazil and Nicaragua, mentored students from the US and Latin America, and developed environmental education curriculum while serving as a Fulbright Scholar. She is very excited to share her passion for science-based conservation, public outreach, and community development with the DDCSP scholars. Melissa believes that spending time in nature inspires creativity and curiosity, and is looking forward to discovering new insights within the American Southwest.