Melanie Valencia is the Innovation and Sustainability Officer and an Environmental Engineering Professor at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador. She leads several social innovation projects in the highlands of Ecuador for improving water accessibility and management, particularly related to agriculture. Melanie’s current research includes the challenges of sustainability in Latin America, integrated waste management and sustainable mobility. She leads an ecological sanitation project in the April 16th (2016) earthquake affected areas. She was recently awarded MIT Innovators under 35-Ecuador 2016 for co-founding Carbocycle, a startup upcycling organic waste into marketable vegetable oil substitutes.
Previously, she has worked as a Staff Associate in a Gates Foundation project to produce biofuels and other chemical commodities from fecal sludge in Ghana, she has been a Fellow with the Earth Institute, and worked with the Millennium Campus Network. Melanie has participated in development projects in Kenya for water accessibility and Bangladesh for removing arsenic from drinking water. She has also served as a project management consultant for sustainability and education in Ecuador.
Melanie obtained her Master’s in Public Health from Columbia University, where she focused on Environmental Health Sciences, and specifically on the effects of climate change on health. While at Columbia, she also participated in the Clean Heat Project where she studied the health and environmental effects of fuel changes for heating in northern Manhattan and the Bronx. Melanie received her BS in Environmental Chemistry from Wagner College.