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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Melina Mallory

Meliana MalloryMelina Mallory 

School of Environment and Natural Resources
Environmental Science - Water Science
Playa Del Rey, CA

2021 Distinguished Senior Award Celebration Program (.pdf)

2021 Distinguished Senior Award Recipient Poster (.pdf)

Melina Mallory’s was on the Division I varsity fencing team her freshman year. She had just moved 2,000 miles from anyone that she knew, taken on the hardest physical and mental challenge she ever had, and had to face college-level courses. Melina is extremely proud to have passed general chemistry. She had never been in a massive lecture hall or spent so much time training, all while starting over in a new city with no old friends to lean on. After passing general chemistry under such pressure and change, Melina knew she could handle any obstacle thrown at her. She considers getting through this time as her greatest accomplishment.

Melina wanted to recognize Ms. Brenda VanCleave as her mentor. In her own words, Melina says, “Brenda has really taken me under her wing. I was working in her office as a sustainability intern, and she had heard I had an interest in water sustainability. Even though I am not a civil engineering student, she gave me a position. She has shared her knowledge and showed me a side of water management I likely would not have been able to experience with my major. She not only created a safe learning atmosphere for me to understand a topic I am relatively underqualified to be working in, but really nurtured me personally. She has generously shared her path and experiences working in her field and repeatedly chose projects for me that would enrich my education. She has frequently offered career advice, supported me in my graduate school endeavor, and it has been very meaningful to have a strong female mentor in a male-dominated field.”

During her time working with the OSU Zero Waste Campaign as a tailgate supervisor, Melina was able to oversee zero waste practices in tailgate lots and at the stadium on game days, as well as offer stadium tours from a zero-waste perspective. This taught Melina the social side of sustainability and how to find the best way to interest people in recycling habits they typically do not care about. It was difficult losing a full day of studying (at minimum) to work 10-hour shifts on game days, but interacting with fans and seeing the immediate impact of zero waste practices was always worth it. Melina also served the OSU Office of Energy and Sustainability Services as a sustainability intern and logistics coordinator. This allowed her to see how zero waste practices can have drastically different implementation techniques and challenges on campus versus in a stadium. Ultimately, her work experiences have helped to shape Melina’s grasp of her field.

After graduation, Melina will be attending the University of Pennsylvania to pursue a master’s degree in Environmental Sciences, with a concentration in Water Resource Management.

Service, involvement, and accolades: Delta Zeta Sorority, historian and environmental committee | TerrAqua Club, treasurer | Environment and Natural Resources Scholar | Ohio State Varsity Fencing

Melina Mallory - Press Release