Featured C+Ser: Melissa Matlock

Melissa Matlock, graduated from Climate and Society just a few short months ago after completing a successful internship at the Rainforest Foundation US in New York City. After graduating, Melissa had very little downtime to relax. Within a couple of weeks she was on her way back to her native southern California to start a position as Outreach, Education, Development, and Operations Associate for GRID Alternatives.

The youngest student to enter the Climate and Society program (Melissa couldn’t even indulge in a celebratory beverage at the Climate and Society orientation), Melissa came to the program straight from the University of California, Irvine with a B.A. in Anthropology. Melissa chose the M.A. Program in Climate and Society because it offered both natural and social sciences. “I liked that this Program took statistics, science, and social science and combined them into one field of study.”

Her favorite course was Dynamics of Climate Variability and Climate Change, one of the core classes students are required to take. This might seem surprising given her social science background. “This class was most challenging to me,” she said. “However, I also learned the most from this class. Dynamics also gave me the science background that is extremely important for the careers I was looking into.”

That technical knowledge is now helping Melissa thrive in her new position at GRID Alternatives, a nonprofit that installs solar electric systems for low-income homeowners. Beyond installing solar panels, GRID Alternatives also seeks to educate both homeowners and the public at-large about the benefits of solar energy. The interdisciplinary skills acquired through Climate and Society has made this a natural fit for Melissa. “Climate and Society helped me learn to take technical knowledge and translate it to a non-technical audience. This skill has helped me the most!” said Melissa.

When asked to reflect on the Program beyond the academics, Melissa responded “I loved how close everyone in the program became. I have made friends that will last a lifetime.”

For more information about the M.A. Program in Climate and Society contact the Program office.

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