Melise Edwards-Welbourn

Melise Edwards-Welbourn

Melise Edwards-Welbourn is a Pacific Northwest based climber and biologist. Trained in animal behavior and behavior ecology, she's now on a new track studying the brain at a cellular level. Yep -- thats right, brain science. We caught up with her to hear the latest in her daily hustle and find out whats inspiring her. 

What gets you out of bed in the morning these days?

Endless opportunities that I know are ripe for the picking! Every day at my job, in my climbing, through volunteering, or other hobbies I have, I am painfully aware of how many amazing opportunities, activities and people I am able to interact with. I love collaborating with others on ideas in science, climbing, or the causes I care deeply about. I am beyond lucky that I wake up and get to do this every single day.

Current source of inspiration?

Anyone who is pushing themselves, balancing their passions and dedicating time to causes they care about. It can be challenging to not only invest in a career or field 50-60 hours a week, but also train for climbing, pursue outdoor goals, volunteer, etc. I work with some very gifted people who have contagiously positive attitudes, a sincere love for science and an ability to always see the bigger picture. They balance multiple passions, hobbies and causes with a lot of drive, honesty, dedication and plenty of humor. I am lucky that I get to work with my heroes on a daily basis both at work and in the climbing community.

Photo by Andrea Sassenrath


 What is helping you keep it together? Any saving routines?

What helps me "keep it together" is respecting my own needs and unapologetically chasing whatever it is I need to feel grounded. If the weather is perfectly conducive for a beautiful day of climbing, but I feel exhausted from work, classes and training for climbing, I just give myself the day off. We live in a society that praises being busy, working yourself into the ground and always *doing* or achieving something; I try to give myself days with nothing planned and nothing to achieve except for total relaxation.

 If you had $300 to spend in the Wylder shop, what would you spend it on?

I am a total homebody, so I would have no problem spending $300 on beautiful pottery, decorations and things that make home feel just a little cozier!

What is at the top of your Spotify, ‘recently played' list?’ 

Solange is my latest go-to for music; her voice and thoughtful messages inspire some honesty, reflection and dance moves a' plenty.

Who is inspiring you right now? Why?

You know you are beyond lucky when a question like "who is inspiring you right now?" is hard to answer because you have SO many people to choose from. There are so many women and men from my parents to my coworkers to my boyfriend to my climbing partners who work so hard, have incredible attitudes, put people first, are compassionate and are fighting for causes that need attention. One person I've met and been completely inspired by is Bethany. She has such an incredible attitude and is so grounded. I treasure her friendship, advice and wisdom and I aspire to be more like her in so many ways. Her passion for science and for supporting women and diversity in the outdoors is inspiring and I learn so much from watching her shine.

If you’ve ever been profoundly changed by a landscape, which one and why?

The northwest is so vibrant, rugged and diverse. There is a sort of hushed grandeur one feels with easy accessibility to so many different types of terrains all at once. You could be walking through lush forests dripping with moss and ferns to access a private, sandy beach..or scale the side of a mountain for a pristine alpine lake protected by rocky, sheer cliffs and covered in snow. The northwest screams luxury.

Are you an activist? If so, what are you fighting for and why?

I would not consider myself an activist, but there are of course so many things I wish to see change in our society (and by extension our smaller, outdoor communities as well.) Supporting women and people of color in outdoor communities and our society; acknowledging how privilege plays into our ability to experience the outdoors; working with and seeing youth, especially those who don't have the same privileges others were born into, have opportunities to climb and build confidence and strong relationships through climbing; acknowledging that racism still has far reaching effects in 2017, and trying to have more women in the sciences and in higher leadership positions. I hope in this lifetime I can address these and more. We are so privileged and I think we need to understand how much change we could make happen if we put forth just a fraction of extra effort.

Photo by Andrea Sassenrath
Learn more about Melise on Instagram @meliseymo, and at her WEBSITE

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