Associate Director of Policy and Government Relations
Melissa Bardo (she/her/hers) serves as the Associate Director of Policy and Government Relations for the Education Trust-West. Overseeing the higher education portfolio for the Policy and Government Relations office, Melissa advocates at the state and local levels for policies that promote equitable access and success in higher education.
Melissa has worked in education policy for over five years in various roles, including as a Legislative Aide to a California State Senator, a Legislative Analyst at the California Student Aid Commission, and most recently, a Legislative Analyst at the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office. Melissa has developed policy expertise in college affordability and has extensive experience with the legislative, budget, and political processes that make up California governance.
Melissa’s commitment to advancing educational justice is rooted in her experiences as a hearing-impaired and first-generation college student. While in college, Melissa was also deeply involved in student advocacy, which led her to discover her passion for policy, advocacy, and social justice. Melissa was privileged to experience the transformational power of higher education and now works to ensure college students across California have that same opportunity, especially those who are underserved by our education systems.
A proud product of two public higher education systems, Melissa holds a B.S. in Biological Sciences from Sacramento State and a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from the University of California, Davis. She also holds a Graduate certificate in Applied Policy and Government from Sacramento State. Melissa currently resides in Sacramento with her husband, daughter, and family dog.