Michelle was born and raised in Chicago. After earning her degree in Chemistry from DePaul University, she headed north along Lake Michigan to Northwestern University, where she completed her Ph.D. in the Chemistry of Life Processes. She then moved west and undertook postdoctoral work in Bioengineering at the Stanford University Schools of Engineering and Medicine. Michelle left the lab to pursue her interests in editing and digital publishing by accepting a Senior Managing Editor role at Shmoop, an educational startup. During her time there, she built and led a growing content team that wrote, edited, and produced math and science products.