M.A., Urban Planning, University of Illinois, 2010
B.A., Brandeis University, 2007


Chicago, IL


[email protected]
(312) 795-3738

MeLena Hessel

Senior Policy Advocate

MeLena Hessel is a Senior Policy Advocate with the Environmental Law & Policy Center. She focuses on clean energy development and access, as well as clean transportation initiatives. Current projects include work to support the growth of renewable energy in Illinois, advance community solar and low-income solar throughout the Midwest, and revitalize the Chicago Pedway. MeLena previously worked for LaSalle Investment Management performing market research and regional economic analysis, and for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Construction Engineering Research Laboratory on water sustainability assessments and water conservation recommendations.

What’s a place you love in the Midwest?

Wandering around downtown Chicago and stumbling into architectural masterpieces – always try to go inside and look around. The view of the lake and the city from halfway up Chicago’s tallest skyscrapers. And reading a book on a lazy summer afternoon in West Side Park in Champaign.

What drives you to do this work?

Our approach to our world, our resources, and our climate trades short-term profit for the few for long-term health and quality of life of the many. ELPC unlocks solutions that not only stem the loss of health and quality of life, but enrich both the few and the many.