melissa arias is ecuadorian and has a b.a. in international relations with a focus on environmental management from universidad san francisco de quito. melissa has worked for various public, private and non-governmental entities. her most recent experience is based in the galapagos islands, where she worked for the world wildlife fund (wwf) in the investigation component of the experimental ecotourism project in the islands, along with the ministry of tourism of ecuador, galapagos national park and charles darwin foundation. melissa’s experience working in the field also includes ecuador's amazon tropical rainforest, where she contributed to the management and the research conducted at tiputini biodiversity station, located in yasuni national park, one of the most biodiverse areas of the amazon basin. additionally, she worked for the united nations world food programme (wfp) in the development of a project related to climate change adaptation in vulnerable communities of the ecuadorian andes, along with the ministry of environment of ecuador. melissa also worked for the national secretary of planning and development of ecuador (senplades) in the processes needed for the design of the higher education law of ecuador. melissa currently serves as technical assistant for mentefactura.