Melissa Gasparini is a nontraditional student and the mother of three sons, ages 26, 21 and 15. She began her studies at Daytona State College, graduating with high honors. She then continued her excellence at Stetson and will graduate magna cum laude.
Melissa participated in the 48th Annual Floyd M. Riddick Model United States Senate by portraying Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington. That experience motivated her to focus on policy at Stetson, particularly health care policy. Her senior research project, "Appalachian Addiction: Despair in America," examines how health care policy and politics impact social programs, including Medicaid, in combating epidemics such as the opioid crisis.
Melissa plans to obtain a Master of Arts in health care policy. Her ultimate goal is to be a leader in the field of public health and continue her research on the social and economic impacts of health care policy on public health.