A first generation Dominican-American educator, Melissa is passionate about teaching culturally relevant curricula that create meaningful dialogue and explore complex issues, thereby promoting learning and critical thinking. She believes that education has immense power to liberate, and her lessons strive to empower students by improving their agency, voice, and their ability to express themselves about everyday issues through art.
Melissa attended the Fashion Institute of Technology and received her BFA and MS in art and design education, with honors, from Pratt Institute. A five-time recipient of the Pratt Presidential Merit Award, two-time recipient of the Black Alumni of Pratt Award, and graduate recipient of the Outstanding Merit Award, Melissa was trained in a diverse range of art mediums and has integrated them into K–12 classrooms in New York City public schools.
Melissa works in mediums and styles that include drawing, painting, fashion design, jewelry design, sculpture, and ceramics. In addition to her classroom experience, she served as an artist-in-residence for Cope NYC’s “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and the 4th R Re-imagine Project.” As a Fellow for the Center for Art, Design, and Community Engagement K-12, she taught an after-school art portfolio prep class to seventh and eighth graders aimed at helping students enter top art high schools in the New York Metro area. Melissa is fluent in Spanish, loves to dance salsa, visit museums, read, and travel.