Melissa Ballard

Leadership Team | Association of Science and Technology Centers

Growing up in Michigan, Melissa relished time on the beaches of Lake Michigan and reluctantly played sports because she is very tall. After studying industrial engineering and a smattering of social science topics at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, she discovered her passion for STEM engagement at Impression 5 Science Center in Lansing, Michigan. There, Melissa developed a variety of STEM programs, trained educators, and taught students. Most importantly, she learned how to make many types of slime.

Moving to the nation’s capital and to her next role at the Afterschool Alliance, a bipartisan advocacy organization, Melissa worked to identify and support the needs of the afterschool field to offer STEM through research, partnership building, advocacy, and communications. She eventually joined the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC), where she first served as the Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education’s (CAISE) Communications and Community Manager, and then as the Senior Manager of Public Policy and Advocacy.

Today, as the Director of Programs at ASTC, Melissa leads a team focused on supporting ASTC members in advancing equitable engagement in science and technology. As a part of the Cambio leadership team, she has supported the development of the project website and is excited to participate as a co-learner and contributor to the next Cambio cohort. When she’s not working, you can find her digging through architectural salvage yards or exploring the many lovely parks within the Washington, D.C. area.