a bit about me:
I am the Associate Producer of "First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross," a daily call-in radio program on NPR partner station, WJCT 89.9 in Jacksonville, Florida. I also produce "The Florida Roundup," a weekly statewide call-in radio program (in collaboration with NPR partner station WLRN 91.3 in Miami, Florida). My role also allows me to oversee our intern team, write and edit weekly web content, and produce "What's Good Wednesday," a newsletter for the station.
Additionally, I am the creator and co-host of "Beyond Birth and Death," a podcast for death-positive, birth-curious people looking beyond the medicalization of these sacred rites of passage. We are after a deeper understanding of the physiological, spiritual, and emotional components of birth and death. I enjoy educating my community about the benefits of physiological birth and death, speaking truth to taboos, and answering the strangest questions you can come up with. Together with my co-host Katarina Mineo, we will consider the links between birthing and dying.
I contribute freelance articles to several publications focused on disability. As an autistic woman, I offer my own experiences and insights into navigating a world that caters to neurotypical people. I also write scientific articles which disseminate dense scientific and medical research to a lay audience. I strive to provide adults with comprehensive research that helps them care for their autistic children.
I advocate for accessible mental healthcare, patient-led treatment, and opportunities for creative expression while healing. I believe that complementary therapies such as mindfulness mediation, yoga, art therapy, and creative movement can enhance traditional mental health care.
I am a Florida-licensed Early Childhood Educator and adore working with children and families who value nature immersion, autonomy in education, and attachment-based relationships. As an educator, I follow Rudolph Steiner’s Waldorf philosophy. I believe in honoring children’s distinct developmental stages by offering ample opportunities for play, creativity, and experiential learning. I aim to nurture my student’s heads, hearts, and hands with a curriculum that emphasizes imagination and self-responsibility.
I am currently pursuing my bachelor of science degree in Wildlife Conservation, which compliments my love for scientific journalism and nature-based education. I am especially interested in Antarctica and its wildlife (especially penguins!) and forest-dwelling critters. My research focuses on identifying correlations between captive and endemic Gentoo Penguin's phylogenetic trees via analyses of their mtDNA and observable behavior, with the goal of creating more successful breeding programs which prepare Gentoo Penguins for potential reintegration into the wild.
When I'm not working, I love watching Michael Schur's shows with my husband, thrifting drinking a good cup of peppermint tea, and reading historical fiction.