Melissa Morales (Class of ’20), Tufts University, Graduating in Spring 2024
Degree: Double major in Child Studies & Human Development and Clinical Psychology with a minor in Entrepreneurship for Social Impact
Career Goals: I want to pursue a Ph.D. in psychology and become a child psychologist as well as work in policy reform for parental incarceration and expand prison nurseries across the U.S.
What has been the biggest surprise about the college experience? My biggest surprise has been recognizing how important it is to put value in where you come from and the importance in developing one's identity and for me it was learning and realizing how valuable it is to be proud of my own ethnic identity.
Most challenging coursework in college: Not exactly coursework but time management in general for all my classes. Also readings have been the most challenging coursework in the sense that I get assigned hours’ worth of readings that at first were very hard to keep up with and now I actually understand all of them.
Accomplishment most proud of: I have been on the Dean's list every semester since I started Tufts; I hosted my own fundraiser for a foster care home in Miami; I was a guest speaker for a class about prison nurseries; I am on the Cardinal Cabinet for my sorority; I am on the executive board for the women in Entrepreneurship Club at Tufts
Can you provide any advice to our current Knights? Leave Hialeah!!! OMG I know it might feel terrifying and it might seem expensive but there are so many great schools out there that have amazing financial aid. There is so much more than Hialeah and your high school circle. Leaving home has not only allowed me to grow as a person and realize who I am outside of the bubble I was raised in, but it has made me learn how to truly appreciate my roots and become very proud of being a minority and being Cuban. Also, I have learned so much about other cultures and other places around the U.S. and the world and have met people who are brilliant and passionate. Give yourself room to grow and the space you need to learn more about the world. This is corny but you really do miss every chance you don't take. Also, expand your interest and take risks! I thought my whole life I wanted to do medicine until I took one class about incarceration, and I realized how much I care about how the system affects kids and I want to be a part of the change to make the system better for incarcerated parents and families. Put in the work, stay up the extra hour studying, do the extra credit, hard work pays off SERIOUSLY!!!
I paid for college with…: My tuition is fully covered by Tufts. I have just had to pay for a bit of my housing and some of it my parents pay for and I received the Burger King scholarship as well as a yearly grant from Americorp Jumpstart which is a program I work for.
Fondest memory from high school: Mr. Milian and Mr. Cruz are the some of most influential people in my life and a big part of my success. Two amazing, caring, and overall the best teachers I could have ever had. Both of them gave me countless support and were always there when I needed. From the handshake Mr.Cruz and I had to the countless times I spent ranting to Mr. Milian about all my problems with the stress/fidget toys on his desk. Two people I will forever remember from MAST. As for memories, my favorite one's are all the times my friends and I would go to Mr. Dean's class and make hot chocolate. It always gave us such a big energy boost and we shared a lot of laughter in that back room.