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.

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Many western cities have been able to shrink their total water use in recent decades, even as their populations grew. That’s the finding of a new study published in the journal Water last week. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke with lead author Brian Richter about how simple water conservation measures could be a cost-effective way to combat shortages in the Colorado River Basin.


NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

A space mission led by the University of Arizona will make a daring attempt tomorrow to scoop up some pebbles from an asteroid. The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is more than two hundred million miles from Earth and it has to touch a spot on the asteroid Bennu the size of a couple of parking spaces. It’s the first U.S. attempt to an asteroid sample back to Earth for analysis. Scientists say it could answer some big questions. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke with the mission’s science team chief Mike Nolan.


Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health

The pharmaceutical company Pfizer is recruiting tens of thousands of volunteers to test a possible new vaccine for the coronavirus disease. Some will be from the Navajo Nation. A legacy of systematic racism and unethical research has left many Navajos wary of participating in clinical trials. But health experts say it’s critical for Indigenous people to be involved for an equitable and scientifically sound process. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke about this dilemma with Laura Hammitt, of Johns Hopkins’ Center for American Indian Health, who is overseeing the trial on Navajo.

University of Arizona

A new study published yesterday by scientists at the University of Arizona shows antibodies to the coronavirus disease last for at least five months after infection. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports.

Deidra Peaches/Change Labs

The City of Flagstaff is hosting a virtual celebration today in honor of Indigenous Peoples' Day. Organizers of the event say it’s an opportunity for Native and non-Native people alike to understand the violent history of colonialism—and also envision a better future. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke with two Diné speakers at today’s event, Rose Toehe and Carmenlita Chief.

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