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Melissa Eggleston

Cohort 5; UX Researcher and Designer, Digital Service at the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare

Trauma-informed design: What college-aged survivors of sexual assault require in technology design


Melissa Eggleston serves as a user experience researcher and designer for the Digital Service at the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare. Her specialty is helping other researchers and designers be more trauma-informed and inclusive. For more than 15 years, she has improved the user experience of websites and apps for organizations of all sizes, including Lenovo, Duke University, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and many others. She continues to consult and teach through her own company, Birdcall, a B-corp established in 2020.

In 2023 she won the Service to the Citizen Customer Experience Trailblazer Award for her work on 988 (the U.S. suicide hotline) and related websites. In 2017, she won the Aquent Design for Good grant to apply trauma-informed principles to a domestic violence agency website. She has helped design specifically for people who have experienced interpersonal violence, human trafficking, substance use disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and severe mental illness.

Teaching others has been part of Melissa’s technology career since 2010, having taught for Girl Develop It and The Society for Technical Communication in addition to giving dozens of conference presentations. She has taught user experience and visual communication to graduate students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill since 2019. She taught a 3-day workshop on Becoming Trauma-Informed at Rosenfeld Media’s Advancing Research Conference in 2019.

Melissa received her BA in philosophy from Davidson College. She received her Master’s degree in Communication from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At North Carolina State University, Melissa is pursuing a doctorate in design, studying the intersection of technology and trauma.

Research Interest

Trauma-informed design, trauma-infomed research, human-centered design, inclusive design.

Student Research Areas

Primary Research Area: Human-Computer Interaction, Digital Design & Communication
Secondary Domain: Design Thinking, Methods, Materials, and Education


Melissa is located in Durham, NC.


  • MA, Communication (Visual focus), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • BA, Philosophy, Davidson College

Personal Websites

Committee Members

Area(s) of Expertise

Trauma-informed research, trauma-informed design, inclusive design, human-centered design, qualitative research