As Director of the Office of Community Engagement, Melody Porter advances community engagement efforts across the university, oversees student and staff programming, and develops strong connections with community partners to ensure that our work is community-driven and leads to positive social change.
Melody received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Religion from Emory University. After college, she served as a long-term volunteer for three years, beginning a job development program in Philadelphia and working with preschool children in Johannesburg, South Africa. She returned to Emory to earn her Master of Divinity from the Candler School of Theology, and went on to serve as Associate Minister at First United Methodist Church of Germantown in Philadelphia, working in areas of social justice and community development, and directing an after school program that served more than 100 high school students. Melody came to William and Mary from Emory University, where she served for three years as director of Volunteer Emory, a student-led department for community service.
Along with her colleagues and friends Shoshanna Sumka and Jill Piacitelli, Melody is author of Working Side by Side: Creating Alternative Breaks as Catalysts for Global Learning, Student Leadership, and Social Change. She was recognized as Staff Person of the Year by Break Away in the National Alternative Break Awards in 2010. She was part of the 2017 cohort of the Community Trustbuilding Fellowship through Initiatives of Change.
From 2012 to 2017, Melody served on the Board of Directors of Break Away as a member, Vice Chair, and Chair. She currently serves on the Council for Richmond Hill.
Through all of her professional and volunteer experiences, Melody has seen how connected and interdependent people and communities are everywhere, and believes in the power of mutual connection to transform lives and bring positive social change.