Associate Director of Student Life, Civic Engagement & Assessment
Before joining the GVSU CSLC staff in 2014, Melissa served as the founding Program Director for the Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities Cook Library Scholars program, a pipeline program for students from first generation immigrant families in Grand Rapids. There, she co-facilitated an innovative university-community partnership, linking the Grandville Avenue community to GVSU Kutsche Office of Local History through the development of a youth-led neighborhood oral history project. Prior to that, Melissa was a GVSU faculty member in BCOIS Liberal Studies Department. There, Melissa developed and implemented a number of innovative academic service learning courses, including an international service learning course which led students to Guatemala in order to explore the relationship between global problems and local solutions. She was recognized for her achievements in the area of academic service learning by Michigan Campus Compact and GVSU in 2010 when she was nominated to serve as a Presidential Service Scholar. Melissa has extensive experience working in Central America and with the Latino community locally as a community organizer and through teaching ESL to migrant farmworkers. She is a Spanish speaker and is interested in using community based service learning as a tool for developing critical consciousness in students and mutually beneficial relationships between university and community. Outside of work, Melissa finds great joy in spending time with her three children, Chloe, Asa and Ocean. She loves bike riding, swimming, playing basketball, going to the beach, kayaking, dancing, reading and being with friends and family.