Compassionate, kind and nurturing are just a few words to describe Melissa. From a very young age she recalls feeling strongly connected to animals and nature. She knew instinctively that one of her purposes in life was to help protect and preserve what she loved and cared so much about. As Melissa went on to further her education as a young woman, she followed a slightly different path of helping others. Melissa was accepted into an accelerated degree program at Thomas Jefferson University and graduated cum laude in 2002 with a master's degree in physical therapy. After a few years in the work force, she decided to further her education. Melissa returned to Thomas Jefferson University in 2005, and graduated in 2007 with a doctorate degree in physical therapy. Since 2002, Melissa has worked in various inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation settings in southern New Jersey. She currently maintains a position of Physical Therapist at Ivy Rehab. A more recent professional pursuit for Melissa has been an interest in natural health. Melissa enrolled at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in 2013, completing coursework to earn a certificate in holistic health counseling in 2014. Melissa has focused her interests on a whole-food plant-based dietary approach for healing when working with clients.
Throughout the years, her yearn for helping animals continued. She enrolled in coursework for canine rehabilitation at the University of Knoxville, Tennessee. In the fall of 2011, Melissa met Pam Brighton at an Oasis adoption event. Melissa became a volunteer with a specific interest in fostering. She has successfully fostered many cats and kittens over the years and continues to do so today. The volunteer position proved to be extremely rewarding for Melissa and she began to take on more responsibility, including administrative roles and managing social media pages. She has committed to consistent volunteer shifts at our sanctuary and happily assists with any and all tasks related to animal care, farm maintenance, and fundraising. Helping at the sanctuary is where her passion, purpose and talents align.
Melissa resides in Sewell, NJ with her fiance, golden retriever, five cats and foster cat(s). In 2013 Melissa and Rob adopted a draft horse and mini donkey duo named Greyheart and Angus from Oasis after they were surrendered by their owner. They are currently boarded at a nearby farm. Melissa is passionate about vegan cooking, hiking, skiing, and taking care of her animals. She loves to recharge by spending time in nature and collecting sea glass along the New Jersey beaches.
Melissa began her position of Board Member for The Oasis Animal Sanctuary, Inc. on June 19, 2013.