Melissa Zaksek

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734-763-0034
Collaborative Research Specialist

Melissa joined the University of Michigan Water Center in 2014. She works with the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) Science Collaborative as a Collaborative Research Specialist, engaging with estuarine partners to develop and implement end-user driven collaborative projects that address the unique coastal management needs of the 28 research reserves found around the country.

Melissa has a background in natural resource management policy and decision-making. She spent two years with the US Forest Service working closely with federal, state, tribal, and local land managers; NGO partners; industry representatives; and wildfire professionals across the country to coordinate national efforts aimed at addessing wildland fire management needs. During this time, she became a certified wildland firefighter and participated on prescribed burns; she also spent a month with a wildland fire hotshot crew based out of Idaho. Melissa also worked for the Forest Service in New Mexico, as the assistant program manager of the Collaborative Forest Restoration Program, an innovative grant program that utilizes place-based collaborative partnerships as a means for restoring forested and riparian landscapes. Melissa holds an MS in Natural Resources from The Ohio State University, where she studied decision processes and risk communications. She also has a BS in Forestry from Michigan State University. In her free time, Melissa enjoys spending time with her husband and two boys.