Dr. Melissa Harris grew up in Fresno, California after relocating with her family from White Plains, New York as a small child. Growing up in the Central Valley had a profound impact on her education and identity development. After receiving her Bachelor of Arts and Master’s degrees in Communication Studies from California State University, Fresno she relocated to Washington, D.C. where she obtained her Ph.D. in Communication, Culture, and Media Studies from Howard University. Her research interests are located at the intersections of culture, media, and gender studies. Currently, Dr. Harris is conducting research on the cultural communication rite of passage known as “The Talk” within Black families and the implications of such conversations on gender, media, and the public and private sphere. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, reading, and above all else spending time with her family and loved ones.