A strong advocate for inclusion in the arts and a firm believer that all children should have access to a quality music education, Melissa has devoted much of her career to developing programs for underserved youth and children with special needs. An active clinician, her recent engagements have included workshops at the International Society of Music Education World Conference (ISMEA), the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy (NCKP), the Canadian Federation of Music Educators Biennial Convention (CFMTA), the College Music Society National Conference (CMS), the Music Teachers National Association National Conference (MTNA), the Australasian Pedagogy Conference (AAPC), and the Gulf South Summit on Service-Learning and Civic Engagement through Higher Education. She is a coauthor of Inclusive Piano Teaching, a blog sponsored by the Frances Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy, and is co-chair of the committee on special needs for the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy. She is published in the Piano Pedagogy Forum, American Music Teacher, and the widely read MTNA E-Journal.
Melissa is currently pursuing a Doctor of Education degree in Higher Education Leadership and Policy at Vanderbilt University where she is the recipient of the Deans Tuition Scholarship for Achievement. She earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy and a Master of Science degree in Special Education from the University of Wisconsin Madison, a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance from Bowling Green State University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Piano Performance from Westfield State University, where she was the recipient of the Presidential Merit Scholarship and Excellence in Music Performance Award. Her principal teachers include Martha Fischer, Cathy Kautsky, Dr. Robert Satterlee, Galina Gertzenson, and Dr. Christina Long. She studied Piano Pedagogy with Dr. Jessica Johnson and her work in Special Education was done under the direction of Dr. Cheryl Hanley-Maxwell.
She currently serves as Director and Assistant Professor of Music at Anna Maria College in Paxton, MA. She is the Founding Director of OpporTUNEity Music Connections, a nationally recognized, award-winning engagement initiative for underserved youth and children with special needs. Prior to her appointment at Anna Maria College, she served as Program Coordinator of Music at Martin Methodist College. She has also served on the faculties of Silver Lake College, the University of Wisconsin Fond du Lac, Bluffton University, and as a teaching assistant at Bowling Green State University and Interlochen Arts Camp.