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Melissa Bjelland

Melissa Bjelland

Research Associate
Address: 201 Dolgen Hall Phone:
  Cornell University Fax: (607) 255-2763
  New York, NY 10016 Email:

Melissa J. Bjelland, Ph.D., (pronounced “bee-YELL-and”) received her doctoral degree from Cornell University in the fields of labor economics, health economics, and econometrics. The primary focus of her graduate research involved the exploration of the lasting impacts of employee-employer separations due to layoffs and health shocks. While writing her dissertation, Dr. Bjelland extensively utilized restricted-access micro data files as an employee of the Bureau of Labor Statistics and as a contractor with the Census Bureau’s Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Program. In her work, she has used State Unemployment Insurance Wage Records, the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, the Current Population Survey, the Survey of Income and Program Participation, Social Security Administration records, the 2000 Decennial Census, and the American Community Survey.

In her current position, Dr. Bjelland works with teams to plan and conduct analyses of data to evaluate the impact of changes in policies that advance the employment of people with disabilities. She manages the creation of cross-sectional and longitudinal research files using national survey and administrative datasets. Dr. Bjelland performs statistical analyses using these data and authors research papers and policy/research briefs describing the results. Two key projects involve: (i) evaluating employment discrimination using the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Integrated Mission System, and (ii) examining the impact of environmental factors on disability and the decision to work using the American Community Survey.

Additionally, Dr. Bjelland participates in the design and development of knowledge diffusion activities, including the implementation of in-person and distance credit and non-credit courses, Webinars, and conference presentations and policy forums on education and employment disability-related topics. She assists in grant writing, identifying new funding sources, developing grant outlines and materials, and conceptualizing special research and knowledge dissemination projects.


Ph.D. January 2007 – Cornell University, Economics
M.A. January 2004 – Cornell University, Economics
B.S. December 1998 – University of Arizona, Mathematics