Melissa A. Stevens Ph.D.

Contact Information
Title: 
World Heritage Coordinator
Phone Number: 
(215) 563-2483
Email Address: 
[email protected]

Melissa Stevens is a cultural anthropologist with a passion for world heritage and cross-cultural exchange. A native of the Philadelphia area, Melissa developed an interest in world cultures at an early age. She had the opportunity for first-hand cultural exploration when she traveled to Spain, Germany, Switzerland, and France with the People to People Student Ambassador Program when she was 14 years old. Before that trip, she had never been on a plane or traveled further than Washington DC, but she was immediately enamored by the experience of immersive international travel. She traveled to Trinidad and Tobago the following summer as a youth program volunteer and in college she worked as a summer camp counselor in Yu’pik villages in Western Alaska.

She traveled to Tanzania for the first time during a study abroad program in college. It was there that she fell in love with both Tanzania and anthropology, eventually returning in 2010 and 2012-2013 to conduct research while pursuing her Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Maryland. Her dissertation research examined women’s engagement in a national heritage tourism and community development program, and involved over nine months of ethnographic research in the Maasai community of Longido, in northern Tanzania. This research was funded by a National Science Foundation grant and an Anthropology Chair’s Graduate Fellowship from the University of Maryland. Melissa also worked as a project consultant for the NGO Counterpart International on a sustainable tourism project in Vietnam over the course of two summers, in 2007 and 2008. The project’s goal was to generate income that supports biodiversity conservation as well as gender equitable community development outside of the UNESCO World Heritage site Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park.

Melissa received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Maryland in 2014 and has taught anthropology and global studies courses at Drexel, Widener, Philadelphia University, and the University of Maryland. She lives in West Philly with her music-and-ice-cream-making husband Woods and their sweet, big-headed dog Charlie.