Melia Paguirigan grew up in the small state capital of Olympia, Washington. Surrounded by the beauty of the Olympic National Park and the Salish Sea. In high school, she became fascinated with the interconnectedness of life on Earth. This early fascination flourished in college where she ultimately graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Ecology from the Evergreen State College.
At the end of college, she participated in a Research Experience for Undergraduates at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories through California State University Monterey Bay. Her research focused on the influence of diatom morphology and aggregation on the carbon cycle. She presented this project at the WSN 2016 conference and at the ASLO 2017 conference as a member of the ASLO Multicultural Program.
After graduating she sought out opportunities where she could integrate her commitment to social justice with her background in environmental science, which led her to the RAY Fellowship. After working in environmental policy for a few years, she decided to shift to education and community-based environmental efforts and earned a MAEd in Urban Environmental Education from Antioch University Seattle. She is a facilitator, educator and mentor and her goal is to support collaborative, community-led solutions to environmental challenges people face every day in the places where they live, work, go to school or are in community together.
In her free time Melia enjoys comic books, camping, cooking food with loved ones, and searching the internet to see how people bring together art and activism. Family is very important to her and they have been essential to her achievements so far.