Growing up, I’ve always been curious about how the beauty of nature works. Although I grew up in poverty, I remember begging my parents to put me in all types of after school science programs to build rockets or join art clubs to draw my favorite animals. One day, my parents let me pick something out from the dollar store, and I decided I wanted a magnifying glass. From that point on, my childhood summers were spent observing ant hills, looking at fuzzy plant roots, and witnessing the magic of my mother's rose garden. With a lot of hard work and an amazing support network of teachers and family, somehow the universe worked in my favor to attend college as a first-generation, Hispanic Chicanx student that identifies as a two-spirit indigenous Cáhita person of México. ¡Sí se puede!
Flashing forward, I attended Northern Arizona University (NAU) and received my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology. It made sense for me to transition into using fancier glass to study tinier organisms! During my undergrad years, I studied a hospital outbreak strain of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a flesh-eating bacterial species. It was really scary, so I switched to my old love of plants. My research in my master’s program revolved around using a quantitative stable isotope probing (qSIP) technique to identify growing microbial communities under early seedling plant rhizospheres of conservation interest: sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) and cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum). I thought I would immediately jump into research after graduating, but I found out I loved teaching biology labs way more. Something about making science fun really made my life worth living to make a positive impact on early-year college students, especially those that also identify as first-generation, poverty/low-income status, Hispanic, Latinx/Chicanx, 2SLGBTQIA+, having different physical/mental abilities and disabilities, and a survivor of abuse and violence. One of the steps of the scientific method is asking questions. As long as we ask questions, we are all scientists! :-)
At Estrella Mountain Community College (EMCC), you can find me instructing general biology and microbiology courses.I am a member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) curriculum interest group that creates and facilitates DEI work into all layers, fields, and disciplines at EMCC. Lastly, I am the advisor for the student EMCC PRIDE club, which provides a safe space for education, outreach, networking, community-building among students that identify as 2SLGBTQIA+ (two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex, asexual, plus more identities and allies) or to those that are willing to learn and practice allyship from a place of compassion. My approach to teaching includes making things fun, inclusive, equitable, embracing diversity and valuing all unique perspectives in a safe learning environment. Outside of my job, I enjoy kayaking, hiking mountains, camping, making art for exhibits, fiddling with new instruments (guitar, drums, piano), practicing meditation, learning languages (French, American Sign Language), and celebrating life with my chosen family and ancestors. My favorite thing about life is that we are all life-long learners. I get to try new things and I don't have to be good at any of them (yet)! and that's okay! Go Mountain Lions!
Carrillo Galaviz, Melissa. Active Rhizobacterial Community Composition of Cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) and Big Sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) Seedlings Using Quantitative Stable Isotope Probing (QSIP). Northern Arizona University. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 2019. 13883437.
2021, Glendale Community College; Teaching and Learning in the Community College Certification
2021, Scottsdale Community College; Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Online Learning Certification
2021, Johns Hopkins University; COVID-19 Contact Tracing Certification
2021, Grand Canyon University; Making Class Fun Certification
2021, Grand Canyon University; Culturally Competent Teaching Practices Certification
2021, Grand Canyon University; Assistant Adjunct Professor Rank Title
2020, Grand Canyon University; Encouraging Strong Writing Across Disciplines Certification
2016, Northern Arizona University; Diversity and Inclusion Safe Zone Certification
2015, College Reading and Learning Association; International Tutor Certification