Melissa Espinoza, PhD


I am recently graduated from the Institute for Social Policy, Housing, Equalities Research (I-SPHERE)  at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland. My research is interdisciplinary by nature, although I consider myself more of a geographer and urban planner as those are the two major fields I studied during my doctorate.  


My research meets at the intersection of history, public policy, housing, racial inequalities, and society. I am primarily focused in understanding the factors that perpetuate inequalities within homelessness and addressing them with tangible long-term solutions. While my major focus has been Indigenous Peoples' homelessness experiences and the freedoms they have to choose in what they do and who they can be, I am also interested in environmental and transportation policy.

I believe that none of us are voiceless, we are strategically ignored. It is my life long commitment to elevate voices and share any platform I have access to with communities still striving to have their stories, perspectives, and knowledge valued.  


Doctor of Philosophy

Urban Studies

Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK



Master of Science 

Public and Urban Policy (Merit)

University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK



Bachelor of Arts (Honours and Distinction)

Geography and Comparative History of Ideas

University of Washington, Seattle, USA



I have worked in a variety of positions across the world. I have studied in India, Iceland, Northern Ireland, and Scotland.  In these different nations and contexts my role has always been to learn, absorb, challenge, and process how society connects. Asking myself, what is done well? What can be done better? Where do we go from here? Part of learning about each role I have served in has been learning about the history of a place through underrepresented stories, and systematically overlooked population perspectives. I believe that which stories we tell and how we tell them will impact our future and policies we make. 

Image description: Melissa Espinoza portrait with  a shirt that reads, "I am the wildest dreams of my Ancestors"
Fieldwork in India Melissa Espinoza.jpg
Image description:  Melissa Espinoza sitting on the ground reading Hindi translation book with a notebook nearby in India in bright orange pants and white top.

© 2023 by Melissa Espinoza | reliable research