About Me

Melissa Aho, M.A., M.Ed., M.L.I.S., M.S., Postbaccalaureate Graduate Certificate, B.A., B.A., B.S., A.A., A.A.S., A.S., Certificate, Certificate, Diploma, and Diploma


Brief Biography
I am a currently a librarian (I have worked in a wide variety of libraries, including a newspaper library, a magazine library, a 1st – 12th grade library, a map library, and in a few different college and university libraries), an adjunct instructor (for over 11 years I taught a variety of classes online for a few different colleges and universities), a writer (mostly book reviews, the occasional article, a book, and now a short story set in the world of Sherlock Holmes), a podcaster (Book Talk with Melissa Aho is my new podcast on books and reading), an entrepreneur, a private pilot (post-solo, but working towards my license), and a Ph.D. student (ABD) in International Development at the University of Southern Mississippi. I have no idea what I will be doing tomorrow, but first human on Mars sounds cool.

Slightly Longer Than The Brief Biography

The plan was originally to become a history teacher, but my love and fascination with archaeology took over and I decided to become an archaeologist. I received a B.A. in History and Anthropology (St. Cloud State University), a B.A. in Art History – my senior paper was on an Islamic chess set (University of Minnesota-Twin Cities), a M.S. in Anthropology (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), participated on some archaeological digs (in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Colorado, Belize, and worked on some Egyptian pottery in the lab), and studied Native American trading beads for my M.S. paper in Anthropology. Then I switched fields and went into libraries. I worked in a bookstore for years and had my mother not said that I should be a librarian it probably would have happened sooner. I received my M.L.I.S. (library degree) from Dominican University. After receiving a few more undergraduate degrees in GIS & Cartography and Business, I started working on a M.A. in Art History (University of St. Thomas). I originally studied mosques in Guyana (they are incredibly beautiful, so go to Guyana and see them and also see the Hindu temples) and ended up studying mosques in Minnesota for my M.A. paper in Art History. Next I did some research on synagogues in Minnesota, libraries and library workers, and now I am researching aviation, female pilots, drones, and social media. I completed a Online Distance Learning Postbaccalaureate Graduate Certificate from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, so that I could have some methods, theory, and background in online teaching and over the years worked towards and finally received the University of Minnesota’s Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Learning Technologies (LT). For my masters project I created a educational video game called “Harvey the Husky” and hopefully one day it will be available for purchase on iTunes App Store for $0.99. I am working on my Ph.D. in International Development from the Department of Political Science, International Development and International Affairs at the University of Southern Mississippi. In April 2016 I passed my comprehensive exams (written and oral) and I now am officially ABD and slowly working on my dissertation on drones. Here is my bio on the PhD department’s webpage.

I am usually busy working, traveling, reading (I am an omnivorous reader and try to read at least 100 books a year), and when I have time I enjoy going to the movies, watching TV, and hanging out with family and friends. I started taking mandolin lessons in the summer of 2013, but with my adult non-musical brain and lack of free time, my proficiency moved at a glacial pace. However trying to learn a musical instrument made me think out of the box and challenged my brain (flying also does this), so I was talking to a few musicians (people that play 10+ instruments) and mentioned my lack of progress on the mandolin. They recommended that I start with something a bit easier, so in the summer of 2015 while I was recovering from foot surgery I started to play the ukulele. I purchased a cute yellow ukulele with a shark base from Amazon.com and a book on how to play. So with a few instructional videos online I am badly learning how to play the ukulele. Progress is now at a glacial pace due to lack of time and I refuse to learn any songs with tiny and bubbles in the lyrics, but my goal is to eventually learn how to play a few Beatles song and the theme from Game of Thrones.

I am a pilot. I was working towards my private pilots license in a Robinson R22 Beta II helicopter (helicopters are my first love), but the cost of flying helicopters is way too high, so I have moved on to airplanes and joined a flying club where I am learning to fly a Beechcraft Sundowner. I soloed on Monday June 18, 2012. It was a beautiful hot Minnesota day. The skies were blue and clear, no wind, and the Anoka County airport (KANE) was a bit busy, but the tower guys were really nice during my solo and told me I did a good job! I currently have over 100+ hours, and might get my license in the summer/fall/winter of 2018. I passed the FAA Private Pilot-Airplane written exam on December 30, 2014.

I am extremely fortunate to be an alumni of the NASA Social program for #flyNASA at NASA Armstrong, November 18 and 19, 2014 and the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum ‘Outside the Spacecraft’ #Spacewalk50 on January 7, 2015.

I have articles, book chapters, and over 100 book reviews published with a variety of publications. I have also presented papers in four different academic disciplines (art history, economics, library science, and political science) and posters in two different academic disciplines (GIS and cartography and library science) at local, national, and international conferences. I co-authored a book for librarians: “The Machiavellian Librarian: Winning allies, combating budget cuts, and influencing stakeholders” which was published in the UK in October 2013 and in the US in November 2013. For some reason the new publisher, who bought out the old publisher, lists the publication date as 2014, so you might see it either way. Not a lot of people purchased it and fewer read it (yes, that includes my mom who also did not buy it, as she got a free copy from me), but I am sure it’s bound to be a collectors item one day – so buy it while you can. It was reviewed in Library Journal and a few other places (I was even jokingly offered the chance to review it for a publication, which I ethically turned down). I have had photos published in aviation magazines, but they were unaccredited. However I now have 2 photos published with my name, one in 2015 and one in 2016. Having never written fiction before (writing fiction has always freaked me out), I wrote a Sherlock Holmes pastiche piece for The Norwegian Explorers of Minnesota 2016 Christmas Annual “The Personal Diary of Mrs. Martha Hudson, Housekeeper to the Famed Detective Sherlock Holmes” (its about Mrs. Hudson). Also inspired by some of the new Young Adult (YA) Sherlock Holmes books, I have decided to try and write a YA book on Sherlock Holmes. I have just an idea, an inkling if you will, at this stage and that’s about it, so we will see if it ever becomes a real book. Finally, I am also working on writing my PhD Dissertation, its going to be on drones and its going a bit slow.

I am a member of many professional organizations, but my two favorites include the Ninety-Nines, Inc., International Organization of Women Pilots and The Explorers Club, MN12. Its my dream to one day become a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of The Baker Street Irregulars (BSI).


Ph.D. 2018/2019 University of Southern Mississippi (International Development) (Major: Political Development, Minor: Security Studies) (ABD and Currently in Progress – dissertation topic on drones)
M.Ed. 2016 University of Minnesota – Twin Cities (Learning Technologies) (Focus Area: Online Distance Learning), Masters Capstone Project: “Harvey the Husky: An Adventure Learning Game,” advisor Dr. Matti Koivula
M.A. 2009 University of St. Thomas (Art History), Masters Paper: “Masjid An-Nur: Building Meaning in a Minnesota Mosque,” advisor Dr. Heather Shirey
M.L.I.S. 2001 Dominican University (Library and Information Science)
M.S. 1998 University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee (Anthropology), Masters Paper: “Bead Color in the Upper Mississippi Valley and the American Fur Company,” advisor Dr. Bettina Arnold
Postbaccalaureate Graduate Certificate 2012 University of Minnesota – Twin Cities (Online Distance Learning Postbaccalaureate Graduate Certificate)
B.S. 2008 Minnesota School of Business (Business Administration)
B.A. 1999 University of Minnesota – Twin Cities (Art History), Senior Paper: “The Ager Chess Set,” advisor Dr. Catherine Asher
B.A. 1994 St. Cloud State University (Anthropology and History) (cum laude)
A.S. 2005 Anoka-Ramsey Community College (Geographic Information Systems (GIS) & Cartography)
A.A.S. 2005 Minnesota School of Business (Business Administration)
A.A. 1992 Anoka-Ramsey Community College
Certificate 2010 University of Minnesota – Twin Cities (Applied Business Undergraduate Certificate)
Certificate 2005 Anoka-Ramsey Community College (Geographic Information Systems (GIS) & Cartography)
Diploma 2005 Minnesota School of Business (Business Administrative Assistant)
Diploma 2005 Minnesota School of Business (Office Assistant)

Professional Organizations
American Library Association
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
Experimental Aircraft Association
The International Studies Association
The Explorers Club, MN12
-Minnesota Sub-Chapter Secretary/Event Location Coordinator, 2012-2013
Ninety-Nines, Inc., International Organization of Women Pilots
-Minnesota Chapter Secretary, 2011-2015
-Minnesota Chapter Reporter, 2012-present
-Minnesota Chapter Social Media Coordinator (Twitter @Minnesota99s and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/MN99s), 2014-present
The Norwegian Explorers of Minnesota
Whirly Girls, International Women Helicopter Pilots, Auxiliary Member
Women in Aviation International

Research on Social Media and Drones, 2011-Present
Research on Aviation and Female Pilots, 2009-Present
Research on Libraries and Librarians, 2004-2015
Research on Minnesota Synagogues for International Survey of Jewish Monuments Research Project, 2009-2010
Research on Minnesota Mosques, 2008-2010
Research in Guyana on Guyanese Mosques, 2007-2008 (August 2008 in Guyana)
Research on Trading Beads and the American Fur Company, 1996-1998
Research in Belize on Mayan archaeological site, 1993-1994 (December 1993 and January 1994 in Belize)
Research, Lab, and Excavation Experience on Various Archaeological Projects in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Colorado, various amounts of time 1991-1998

Social Media
Blog/Website www.melissaaho.com
Twitter @melissaaho
Instagram http://instagram.com/melissakaho
IMDB http://www.imdb.com/name/nm6742819/
Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/16444261@N02/
Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/mkahoo/
SoundCloud https://soundcloud.com/melissaaho
Google+ https://plus.google.com/116565903630775019818
YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/melissakaho
LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/pub/melissa-aho/8/95a/9a5
Google Scholar (Academic) http://scholar.google.com/citations?user=GTDRAk4AAAAJ&hl=en&oi=ao
Academia.edu (Academic) https://umn.academia.edu/MelissaAho
Kudos (Academic) https://www.growkudos.com/profiles/39250

Podcast: Book Talk with Melissa Aho
Podbean http://booktalkwithmelissaaho.podbean.com/

Social Media Events
‘Outside the Spacecraft’ #Spacewalk50 at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Washington DC, January 7, 2015
‘Learn how NASA is with you when you fly’ #flyNASA at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center, Edwards, California, November 18 and 19, 2014

2015 Minnesota Ninety-Nines Chapter Scholarship

2005 Anoka-Ramsey Community College GIS Scholarship Award

Professional Development

Continuing Education Certificates

2017 Boreas Leadership Certificate. Institute on the Environment, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN.

2016 Certificate in Social Sector Leadership. Philanthropy University and the Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley. Seven foundation courses. March – December 2016. Certificate issued on December 28, 2016

Certificate of Achievement. edX via MITx 14.73x: The Challenges of Global Poverty. September 19, 2016 – December 11, 2016. Verified Certificate of Achievement issued on December 15, 2016

Specialization Certificate in Entrepreneurship. The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Coursera’s “Entrepreneurship,” a 5-course specialization by University of Pennsylvania on Coursera. February – August 2016. Specialization Certificate earned on August 29, 2016

2015 TESOL/TESL/TEFL 100-hour Teacher Training Certification Course. Oxford Seminars Online

2014 TESOL/TESL/TEFL 60- hour Teacher Training Certification Course. Oxford Seminars, Minneapolis, MN

2013 Equity and Diversity Basic Certificate. University of Minnesota, Office for Equity and Diversity, Minneapolis, Minnesota

2006 Certificate of Completion. ALCTS Fundamentals of Acquisitions Web Course. American Library Association – Association for Library Collections & Technical Services Web Course, October 16 – November 10, 2006 (WebCT format).

Selected Continuing Education

2009 “Manuscript Workshop at HMML, May 31- June 5, 2009.” Minnesota Manuscript Research Laboratory. Sponsored by the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library, Saint John’s University and the Center for Medieval Studies, University of Minnesota. Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota. May 31- June 5, 2009

Sloan-C Workshop “Accommodating Students with Disabilities: Leveraging the Online Learning Environment.” Online Moodle Format. April 8-17, 2009

Sloan-C Workshop “Podcasting in Higher Education: Current Trends and Applications.” Online Moodle Format. March 4-13, 2009

“Training Others: One-On-One.” University of Minnesota Libraries, Minneapolis, Minnesota. March 4, 2009

2008 “NLM Training: PubMed.” National Library of Medicine, Minneapolis, Minnesota, September 16, 2008. 7.5 MLA CE Contact Hours

“NLM Training: NLM Gateway & ClinicalTrials.gov.” National Library of Medicine, Minneapolis, Minnesota, September 15, 2008. 3.5 MLA CE Contact Hours

2007 “Scholarly Publishing and Open Access: Straight Talk.” Educational Webcast. Medical Library Association (MLA), November 20, 2007. 3.5 MLA CE Contact Hours

Aviation Flight Times
Student Pilot, Helicopter (R22 Beta II), 15.5 hours
Student Pilot, Single Engine Airplane (mostly in a Cessna 150 & 172 and Beechcraft Sundowner), 90+ hours