Melisa Antonia Diaz
National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow
The Ohio State University
Melisa Antonia Diaz graduated with a BSc in Earth and Environmental Sciences from the University of Rochester in 2014 and a MSc in Earth Sciences from The Ohio State University in 2017. She became involved in polar research after a field campaign to Summit, Greenland in 2014 and began Antarctic research during her MSc, where she studied the geochemistry of wind-blown materials in the McMurdo Dry Valleys. Melisa is in her final year as a PhD candidate and National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow at The Ohio State University studying the surface geochemistry of ice-free areas in the Transantarctic Mountains. Her dissertation research focuses on understanding patterns of biogeography and ecosystem assembly following large scale changes in climate through detailed interpretations of salt concentrations from samples collected along the Shackleton Glacier, Antarctica. Melisa has spent two field seasons in Antarctica (2017 and 2018) at both large stations and smaller field camps and is one of few Latinas to visit both polar regions. She is the former president and current outreach coordinator of the Ohio State chapter of Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS). Through her talk, “Pink gloves in the Transantarctic Mountains”, Melisa hopes to show how interdisciplinary and collaborative research in Antarctica is necessary for the general public and share perspectives on the importance of adding a little bit of “color” to polar research.