Melissa Ash, known to her colleagues and friends as Mash, started her journey with the IIRP in 2014 when she enrolled in their graduate school. Previously enrolled in a master’s program for school counseling, she realized she longed for a field more focused on community connection and decided to redirect her future. Following the completion of her Master of Science in Restorative Practices, she primarily applied her knowledge in the fields of higher education and civic engagement. As a full-time instructor with IIRP, she works with professionals in the field of education to launch restorative practices and implement whole school change. Melissa also shares a focus area of diversity, equity, and inclusion within the academic affairs unit of IIRP to help spearhead DEI initiatives. 

Melissa enjoys spending time with her family, playing guitar, and has also been known to perform some magic. She works closely with her wife to maintain their nonprofit, an organization made in their son’s memory aimed to support families with medically complex children.