Emily Melluso is a data science research professional with a passion for serving communities facing challenges. She currently works for the American Institutes for Research (AIR), where she applies her background in qualitative and quantitative research methods, survey development, and data management to AIR client proposals and projects. She’s also held teaching positions at various universities and is currently teaching Sociology at UMBC.
Emily graduated Cum Laude from the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) with a double major in Biological Sciences and Sociology. She also holds a Master’s degree in Applied Sociology from that same university, where she was a member of Alpha Kappa Delta (the international honors society for sociology) and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.
Emily’s two-year old son keeps her pretty busy and raising him is her top priority right now. That said, she has goals to get into local housing and homelessness advocacy and support. Emily enjoys bluegrass and folk music, knitting, coffee breaks with coworkers and friends, and taking walks in downtown Frederick.
Why we love Emily
Emily is one of the most approachable, kind people we know. She’s super considerate and genuinely cares about others. Pair that with super-sharp observation and analysis skills … what’s not to love? It’s a powerful combination. Her smarts enable her to be even more kind and giving. Not surprisingly, she quickly connected with her new “coworkers” and became a favorite for a lunch outing or a stroll around downtown in between work tasks.
Q&A with Emily Melluso
How did you get into doing research?
I originally went into research because I wanted to understand the context behind problems and issues I was seeing in the world. To me, a problem cannot be solved until it is understood, and it cannot be understood until the right people and information are involved in the conversation. I enjoy problem-solving of all kinds, be it how to get all the storable goods to fit in the hallway closet, or how to change a social program to better meet its designed goals. I love talking to people about what they have, what they want, and how they can connect one to the other. I love new ideas and building things up from scratch, finding the smoothest, most efficient way to meet the goal of the group. I teach, I spreadsheet, I analyze, I edit, I learn how to do new things, and often feel like a jack of many trades.
What inspires you and keeps you going?
The kindness and capacity of people and systems to do what is right and loving is what inspires me and keeps me going. For the immediate moment, supporting my 2 year old as they navigate the big emotions of being in the world, working to advance in my career field, and finding new ways to be intentional with life’s moments are all driving me forward.
Cowork Frederick members tend to be a little renegade or unconventional. How does that apply to you?
I haven’t gone about things the traditional way, even when I have tried to do things in the “right” order, it has, in hindsight, felt inauthentic and forced. I often feel like I am straddling the divide between doing what is stable and safe and throwing all cares to the wind. My approach to life right now is to be cautious in how I judge others, be protective of my self, and to trust my gut. I am on a scenic journey to make my corner of the world a good corner.
Which of the guiding values defined by Cowork Frederick members speaks to you?
TENACITY. The value that resonates with me today is tenacity. One day I will talk about boldness because I love that value, and it’s something I appreciate in many of the entrepreneurs at Cowork Frederick. I’ve had moments where I embodied boldness in what I was doing and what was driving me at that time. (Go boldly in the direction of your dreams!!) But, sometimes I do not have the capacity to go boldly or quickly in the direction I want to, sometimes it’s just one step in that direction, or just holding my ground and not back-sliding, continuing to tread and stay above the water; this is a thing about humans that I am grateful for, that I didn’t know was in me, and that I respect and find awesome in the many people I know who are struggling with their circumstances, their mental health, their physical health, or in the general transcendental and existential kinds of struggling.
Why Cowork Frederick?
I joined Cowork because of the pandemic! I needed somewhere to work that was not a coffee shop. I stay because I really like my coworkers 😉
Any tips to share?
Yes. Tips for how to get the most out of being part of a coworking community: Go for walks. Say hello in the break room. Be open for spontaneous interactions and experiences. Or if that’s not your speed, then simply working in a room with someone else who is also working is nice and will feel different than working all alone.