Melissa received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with Honors from Florida International University in 2008. As a doctoral student in the clinical psychology program at UCF, her primary research interests include the etiology and treatment of anxiety disorders in children and adolescents and is particularly interested in variables that predict the behavioral processes that maintain these symptoms. Recently, her work has focused on examining parenting behaviors (e.g., behavioral contingencies such as negative reinforcement) and physiological differences in mothers when their child is faced with an anxiety-provoking situation. She hopes to apply her research findings into protocols that incorporate parental involvement in the treatment of child mood disorders. Eventually, she hopes that better understanding parenting behaviors can lead to opportunities to develop more effective psychoeducation and prevention, particularly for minority populations.
Born and raised in the melting-pot of Miami, she sometimes longs for turquoise beach waters and breathtaking sunsets. Besides research, Melissa enjoys oil painting, vegan cuisine, live rock music, and training her chocolate lab to perform tricks.