Melissa Sevigny

Science & Technology Reporter

Melissa grew up in Tucson, Arizona, where she fell in love with the ecology and geology of the Sonoran desert. She has a B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Arizona and an M.FA. in Creative Writing and Environment from Iowa State University. Her first book, Mythical River, forthcoming from the University of Iowa Press, is about water issues in the Southwest. She has worked as a science communicator for NASA’s Phoenix Mars Scout Mission, the Water Resources Research Center, and the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture. Melissa relocated to Flagstaff in 2015 to join KNAU’s team. She enjoys hiking, fishing and reading fantasy novels.

Ways to Connect

Deidra Peaches, Change Labs

A new app connects shoppers with more than 500 Native-owned businesses in the Southwest, from beauty salons to food carts to car repair shops. It’s called “Rez Rising” and it’s designed to give tourists access to authentic products and experiences on tribal lands, while giving a boost to local economies. One of its creators is Heather Fleming, executive director of Change Labs, a nonprofit incubators for Native businesses. She spoke with KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny about the vision behind Rez Rising.

Victoria Girgis/Lowell Observatory

SpaceX launched 60 new Starlink satellites into orbit last week, in their quest to expand Internet access across the globe. The company hopes to have 1500 in orbit by the end of the year, and other companies are planning launches, too. That could mean tens of thousands of new satellites in the sky, which is bad news for astronomers. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke with Lowell Observatory director Jeff Hall about how these “satellite constellations” threaten astronomical research.

Melissa Sevigny: Are they brighter than the usual satellite up there?

Melissa Sevigny

The Kayenta coal mine in northeastern Arizona shut down last year, along with the power plant it supplied. Coal from that mine used to light up Las Vegas and Los Angeles and supply the electricity to pump water to Phoenix and Tucson. Those cities have been able to turn to other sources of energy. Not so on the Hopi and Navajo Nations. For decades tribal members relied on Kayenta coal to heat their homes, and now it’s their first winter without reliable or affordable fuel. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports on what Hopi community leaders call a devastating crisis.

Melissa Sevigny

A single concert at a nearly 3,000 seat venue like Pepsi Amphitheater in Flagstaff might generate well over a thousand pounds of trash. Tyler Linner, a master’s student at Northern Arizona University, wants to find creative ways to recycle as much of that trash as possible. KNAU spoke with him a year ago about his start-up project to reuse the broken plastic sleds that litter the forests in the winter. Now he has a business called Praxis Waste Solutions in a small warehouse near Buffalo Park, where he’s literally sorting through garbage to see how it can be salvaged. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke with him there.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/USGS

Scientists at Northern Arizona University mapped frozen water hidden just below the surface of Mars, with the goal of finding the best spots for future astronauts to visit. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports.


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