Women in STEM are a rarity, especially if they’re Latinas. Melissa Cristina Marquez broke through that glass ceiling in style, publishing Scholastic books geared for kids, hosting several TV programs, a podcast, and more.
Born in 1993, Melissa is of Puerto Rican and Mexican descent. Her accomplishments include a Bachelor of Science, with a focus on Marine Ecology and Conservation, from the New College of America, then, a Masters in Marine Biology in the Victoria University of Wellington, in New Zealand, and then a Doctorate in Philosophy, with a focus on Environment and Agriculture. And that’s only her education.
When it comes to the work that Melissa has done, it’s difficult to narrow it down and make it fit into a single bio. As a writer, author, TV host and podcast runner, Melissa has kept herself busy, constantly pushing herself to try out new, challenging and rewarding experiences. She’s one of the foremost experts on sharks, and has had appearances on Discover Weekly’s iconic Shark Week series. She’s a speaker for a wide variety of issues, from marine biology to ocean and environmental justice.
Melissa’s podcast is called Conciencia Azul, and it’s completely in Spanish. In it, she interviews prominent Latinx figures from the environmental community, including conservationists, grad students, photographers, and more. With her podcast, she hopes to give a voice to marginalized communities, those that haven’t usually been represented in the past.
During Latina Day, she posted the below photo with some preconceived notions about Latinas:
- As a Latina, I was told my dreams would never come true because my culture wouldn’t allow it.
- As a Latina, I was told it would be a miracle if I didn’t get pregnant in my teens.
- As a Latina, I was told I wasn’t smart enough to even get out of the kitchen.
- As a Latina, I was told I wasn’t enough.
She then posted the below a very empowering and inspiring quote!
“As a Latina, I have climbed many mountains (or glaciers, like this one) but still feel like I am just scratching the surface of my full purpose and potential.”
Melissa’s writing has been published in a variety of publications, including The Washington Post and GQ. She’s been featured as one of Forbes “30 under 30.” She is also an active social media user, utilizing her platform as a way to connect with other like-minded people. She engages with her thousands of followers and educates them, showing them that it is possible for a Latina woman in STEM to thrive and find her voice. And also, that sharks aren’t all that scary.