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Melissa Espinoza, PhD


While earning my Ph.D., I had the pleasure of learning directly from the esteemed and renowned supervisors Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick and Professor Sarah Johnsen. I graduated from the Institute for Social Policy, Housing, and Equalities Research (I-SPHERE) at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland. My research is interdisciplinary by nature, although I consider myself more of a mixed-method social scientist.


My research meets at the intersection of history, law, public policy, racial inequalities, and society. I am primarily focused on 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 sustainable public policy.

I believe that none of us are voiceless; we are strategically ignored. It is my lifelong commitment to elevate diverse voices and expertise 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


Image description: Melissa Espinoza portrait. She has dark medium length hair, brown skin, with  a shirt that reads, "I am the wildest dreams of my ancestors."


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. 

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

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