Melanie believes that the “hidden syllabus” [the knowledge and information that is often unspoken in academia] should be shared with all—especially so that new and emerging scholars are equipped to focus and lead the next generation of students in higher ed.
My experiences as a mentee in programs like the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program fuel my efforts to advocate on behalf of underrepresented students. I have served as a mentor to undergraduate students interested in pursuing graduate degrees in public policy and Ethnic Studies and Sociology. In previous semesters, I have served as a graduate student mentor for the Chicanx/Latinx Student Development office and the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program (MMUF) where I regularly met with Latinx students to discuss their academic progress and goals. I have also worked with the Transfer Student Center, teaching the course Transitioning to The Academic University and for Summer Bridge, a program geared towards first-generation students recently admitted to UC-Berkeley.
More generally, I have given lectures about my experiences in the academy to undergraduate and graduate students, and served as the keynote speaker for UC-Berkeley’s Graduate Diversity Day. In 2014, I became the Graduate Student Minority Outreach, Recruitment & Retention Project Director and supported a mentorship program that pairs first-generation and low-income undergraduates with graduate students. Our program was awarded a $150,000 grant during my tenure. Recently it became an established institutionalized program at Berkeley and now supports the needs of 150 undergraduates and 50 graduate students across campus. I intend to continue these efforts in the professoriate by serving as a mentor to my students and providing them with the resources that they need to flourish in their respective areas.