Melissa Del Rios
Updated: Dec 22, 2022
By: Alexa Figueroa 🇸🇻
Melissa Del Rios posing in Edward St. John Learning and Teaching Center at the University of Maryland on Nov.11, 2022. (Diana Rivera)
Community and family are a big part of Melissa Del Rios’s life. She grew up in Newark, New Jersey, a predominantly Latinx and Black area. Her parents were born in Puerto Rico and then migrated to New Jersey.
Ella admira la comunidad donde se crió. We usually hear the saying family isn’t always blood and she embodies this statement.
Sus padres construyeron su propia familia con miembros que no eran parientes consanguíneos. Esto la ayudó a sentirse más puertorriqueña y Latina.
Ella ha dedicado su vida a la educación. She received a master’s degree in public policy with a lens towards educational policy because it is important to her that she works towards ensuring underrepresented students of color have opportunities and feel that they're being heard.
Del Rios is a first-generation college student and she knows first-hand what it is like to attend a predominantly white institution (PWI.)
She says that once the student experience is improved at a PWI, students are more likely to stay and graduate and that’s what she has dedicated her life to.
“Knowing that I have played even a small part in helping students feel more welcomed at the university…and helping students figure out what they want to do after they graduate. That is how I define my success.”