For the Fall 2018 semester, Melissa participated in the course, Building Diagnostics, taught by Michael C. Henry at the University of Pennsylvania’s Historic Preservation program. The course provided insight into degradation issues with building envelopes particularly in relation to water. During the course, Melissa and her classmates were introduced to various diagnostic, monitoring, and preventive conservation techniques used in the conservation of built heritage. The course involved an understanding of systems thinking, the visual representation of data (Tufte), and metacognition techniques.
The students were consistently posed with real-world building problems and were encouraged to create timelines and systems diagrams imposed on section drawings. Melissa developed a working knowledge about some building preservation terminology and is better equipped to discuss building condition issues with other professionals in the field.
The final project for the course involved the preparation of a monitoring proposal for an 18th century mission in San Antonio Texas. Melissa did this in collaboration with one of her classmates, Rebecca Napolitano, a Princeton University PhD candidate in Civil and Environmental Engineering.