Melissa L. Jarrell earned a B.A. in Anthropology from Eckerd College and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Criminology from the University of South Florida. She is Professor of Criminal Justice and the Chair of the Department of Undergraduate Studies (DUGS), which houses the First-Year Learning Community Program (FYLCP), Honors, the Applied Science degree programs (BAS), University Studies (UNVS) and the University Preparatory High School program (UPHS). Dr. Jarrell works closely with her DUGS colleagues and various academic units to help improve retention rates at TAMUCC and is currently overseeing the Destination Graduation pilot program, which provides advising and mentoring support for first-year students in seminar courses. Her research interests include criminology, environmental justice, and environmental victimization. Dr. Jarrell has published articles in journals such as Crime, Law and Social Change, Environmental Justice, Environmental Politics, and Review of Policy Research.