Melanie Sanders Meier was born August 25, 1967 in an Army hospital in Wurzburg, Germany, where her father, John “Del” Sanders, was serving as an Army officer and her mother, Audrey Sanders, was the bookkeeper at the local Rod and Gun Club. Meier’s father's career in the Army took their family to many duty stations, and she attended a new school every year until she began junior high school in Leavenworth, Kansas, where her family settled after her father’s retirement from the Army.
Meier graduated from Leavenworth High School in 1985 and attended Saint Mary College, in Leavenworth, Kansas, for two years before transferring to the University of Kansas in 1987. While at the University of Kansas, Meier joined the Army ROTC program and was selected for active duty. She graduated from the University of Kansas in 1989 a Distinguished Military Graduate with a bachelor’s degree in economics.
In 1990 Meier began active duty as an Army Air Defense artillery officer and in 1994 transferred to Military Intelligence, serving in Fort Hood, Texas; and Seoul, Korea. As a captain in Korea, she earned her master’s degree in management.
In 1997, while in Korea, Meier transferred to the Army Reserve, and as a civilian employee of the Department of Defense, she worked as a security specialist for the Special Operations Command in Korea; the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of the Navy in Washington, DC; and the 24th Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kansas.
As an officer in the Reserves, Meier was mobilized immediately after 9-11 for Operation Noble Eagle with the US Army Corps of Engineers and reported to Fort Hamilton in New York City for initial recovery operations. Meier then spent a year on active duty with the Transatlantic Program Center, a branch of the US Army Corps of Engineers that coordinates the engineer contracting in the Middle East and Africa. In 2005 Meier went on active duty again in response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in New Orleans as part of Task Force Unwatering, assigned to pump the water out of New Orleans, and she served as the US liaison with a German task force pumping water out of the 9th Ward.
Meier was elected to the Kansas House as the Representative in the fall of 2008, but shortly after assuming her duties in the House was called up for active duty in Iraq. She was replaced in the House by Don Navinsky in February 2009, but once Meier's tour of duty was complete, in January 2010, she resumed her duties at the State House. Meier was re-elected to represent Kansas’ in November 2010.
Meier met her husband, Tom, while they were both lieutenants at Fort Hood, Texas, and they married in 1991 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Leavenworth, Kansas. They are both active volunteers in the Leavenworth community; Melanie serves on the Board of the Leavenworth County Humane Society and is membership chair of the Leavenworth Historical Museum Association, and both she and Tom are active members of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #56.