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2013-14 Congressional Fellow, Senator Bernie Sanders
PhD, Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering
As a congressional fellow in Senator Bernie Sanders' office, Melissa did everything from drafting amendments, speeches and questions for Senate hearings, to meeting with constituents and interest groups and preparing vote recommendations. “I have gained a new skill set that most engineers typically do not have, which gives me insights into the political process. I have also discovered that there are a lot of really smart people on Capitol Hill working on science policy," she said.
She was particularly pleased about a letter she helped draft calling for more unbiased reporting of climate change. It pointed out that four major Sunday news shows devoted only 27 minutes of airtime to climate change in 2013. Signed by nine senators, it was sent to the heads of major news organizations.
“As a result, climate change coverage increased. I also got to meet the CEO of CBS News! It was a great feeling to be part of something that had a direct impact in helping educate the public on the facts around climate change," said Melissa.