Melissa grew up in Melrose, Massachusetts. After earning her undergraduate degree in Biology at Boston University in 1996, she worked as a research assistant at Boston University School of Medicine in the Department of Neurology. During that time she also assisted with educational programs for the American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA). In 2003 she earned her Masters in Nursing at the University of California in San Francisco. Melissa is board certified in gerontological nursing. She returned to Boston University Medical Center, Department of Neurology where she worked for almost 9 years in the Movement Disorders Clinic treating patients with Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and tremor. While there she also coordinated clinical research trials. She has facilitated monthly support groups for patients with Parkinson’s disease and atypical Parkinsonian syndromes since 2004 and has been a board member for the Mass Chapter of the APDA since 2006. Outside of work Melissa enjoys reading, traveling and watching BU hockey games. Melissa is the recipient of the 2020 American Parkinson’s Disease Association Shawn Thornton Award for Excellence! This award acknowledges individuals who go above and beyond in caring and advocating for patients and families with Parkinson’s disease. Melissa has worked hard and shown great dedication over the years in her work with the American Parkinson’s Disease Association. She has greatly impacted the Parkinson’s community.