2018 Tillman Scholar
As a daughter of two U.S. military veterans, Melissa grew up in a household environment centered on community and public service. Her experience as a high school exchange student to Japan planted the seed to serve the global community and pursue a career in international relations. Unable to afford college tuition and inspired by serving her country in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Melissa proudly joined the U.S. Army in May 2002 and served as an Arabic linguist and cryptanalyst.
Studying Arabic and Middle Eastern culture during Operation Iraqi Freedom provided the unique opportunity to view the global war on terror and the role of America in the international playing field from a different perspective. It instilled in her a passion to advocate for the responsible pursuit of foreign policy objectives with commitment to the highest ethical standards. After honorably serving in the Army, she pursued this passion as a civil servant in the U.S. Department of State. She served five years in the regional bureau focused on Middle East and North Africa affairs, including two years at the U.S. embassy in Tunisia. Her embassy experience confirmed her inclination to pursue federal law enforcement with the Department of State. She recently joined the Foreign Service as a Diplomatic Security Special Agent.
Melissa chose American University’s Masters of International Service to enhance the foundation in global leadership, international policy and national security she previously gained from work experience and an undergraduate degree completed at George Mason University.