Melissa Schiele is the Director of Conservation Projects, based at Cheltenham Muscat school in Oman, where she develops and oversees multidisciplinary conservation projects and research, which underpins the project-based learning programme in this and over 15 other schools worldwide.  

Her geographical area of expertise is in Small Island Developing States (SIDSs) and equatorial countries, with a focus on the Indian Ocean. Melissa is reading for an engineering PhD in ‘BVLOS [beyond the visual line of sight] water-landing fixed-wing drones, for applications in ecology, plastics detection and illegal fisheries.’ at Loughborough University in partnership with the Zoological Society of London and holds an MSc in Conservation Science from Imperial College London.  

Melissa is considered a field expert in marine BVLOS fixed wing-drone operations and is also exploring the technology acceptance of drones in conservation projects. Melissa founded the first conservation technology project in the Maldives which currently focuses on drones as tools for a nationwide plastics data collection programme, partnered with a multinational hotel chain and academic institutions. Technology and its applications are important in Melissa’s projects, but careful stakeholder engagement leading to capacity building in situ are core objectives in all her work.  

Alongside her technical background, Melissa has 5+ years’ experience working in cultural heritage and national museums, and is a passionate science communicator for all ages and often in the press, partaking in podcasts and speaking at conferences.  

Melissa hails from West London, where her parents and family of Polish and Ukrainian descent, still live. She and her partner reside in the East Midlands. In her spare time, Melissa is an avid artist and cook, her pieces and food inspired by her travels around the tropics. She’s also an equestrian of 25 years, birder, and loves to be in the ocean.