Melissa joined GRI in 2020 after graduating with a BS in Civil Engineering from Portland State University and is currently finishing her MS in Geotechnical Engineering, also from Portland State. Her graduate research focused on the liquefaction susceptibility of low plasticity silts, especially those silts near critical infrastructure. Her Master’s thesis focused on the silt soils from a collaborative project between Portland State University, University of Texas- Austin, and Arizona State University’s Center for Bio-mediated and Bio-inspired Geotechnics with the goal to desaturate liquefiable silts to decrease its susceptibility to liquefaction. As part of the engineering staff team, she is responsible for completing subsurface investigations, conducting laboratory testing of soil and rock, engineering analyses, and providing construction observation services.
Melissa is a volunteer with nonprofit organizations such as Adelante Chicas and helps develop STEM summer camp workshops taught by PSU’s American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) students. Melissa also is committed to community outreach and to providing the public with the expertise of geologists, seismologists, engineers, and public officials through EERI PSU’s earthquake preparedness events. When not thinking about earthquakes, Melissa likes to garden, and go hiking, and rockhounding with family.
What is your favorite thing about working at GRI?
My favorite thing about working at GRI is the variability in work. I love to work with professionals that are very knowledgeable in their field and that are willing to mentor me into the engineer I want to become.
Where is your hometown? How did it shape who you are today?
Home country is Colombia. I love learning new languages and would like to travel the world and meet people from different backgrounds and ways of living.
Favorite activity outside of work?
Trying new challenging activities, whether that is glacier hiking, biking, skiing, etc.
MS Geotechnical Engineering, Portland State University
BS Civil Engineering, Portland State University