Ph.D. Candidate in Linguistics, Lancaster University (U.K.)
John Jay Fellow
Melissa earned a bachelor’s degree in Communications and Humanities from Wake Forest University, and developed an interest in political communication along the way. After completing her fellowship in 2010, Melissa served as a communications associate for Reformed University Fellowship. She is now a Ph.D. candidate in Linguistics at Lancaster University in the UK.
Regarding her decision to pursue a Ph.D., she said “The John Jay Institute motivated me to engage the public sphere with my unique gifts, leading me to attend one of the top linguistics programs in the world, and giving me a great sense of joy in the work to the glory of God. I’d consider this my biggest accomplishment perhaps because it has been my biggest risk—leaving my American life behind and moving five thousand miles away to study what God has equipped me to learn. I don’t think I could have done it without the conviction instilled in me at the John Jay Institute.”
Having lived among and studied leaders, she sees herself as a leader, but a quiet one, with “a satisfaction in simply complementing what is right.” At the same time, Melissa says, she is “not afraid to stand at the forefront when necessary.” Melissa plans to continue to pursue a career in linguistics, particularly focusing on the intersection between linguistics and the public sphere. She would like to continue research in linguistic manipulation in the media, politics, and religion.