Melissa attended the University of Washington from 2006 to 2009, completing her degree in classics and classical languages, literatures and linguistics. She then obtained her Master's degree in classics and classical languages from Brown University in 2012. 
She has won $28,800 on the game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? in 2012.  Melissa spent three months in Thailand as a volunteer kindergarten teacher at Language Corps Asia in 2011. She then joined the Americorps as a Youth Development Leader for the Seattle Parks and Recreation department in 2012. She also was a volunteer coordinator for Rebuilding Together Aurora. 
Melissa married James Holzhauer in 2012. The couple both have one daughter together.