From the official site:
At the tender age of 13, Melissa, a remarkable teen from Tarzana, California, faced a life altering challenge. Having been diagnosed with severe scoliosis, she underwent an intense surgical procedure that placed two titanium rods on either side of her spine, correcting the problem but also ending her career as an aspiring and talented gymnast. Melissa re-focused on academics and was awarded a scholarship to an elite private school in the San Fernando Valley. While maintaining a 4.2 GPA and a healthy extra-curricular life that includes community service and producing rock concerts, Melissa's real passions are extremely personal. Because she is bi-racial - her father is from the Bahamas and her mother is of Austrian/Jewish descent -- Melissa has always been sensitive to the plight of the minority. She hopes to pursue a career in racial and ethnic studies and return to her community to give something back.