Meet Melissa McCleery! Melissa is a junior from Allentown who is an active and devoted representative of the University Park Undergraduate Association. She currently holds the position of Liberal Arts College Representative and is the Chair of Academic Affairs for UPUA. In case that wasn’t enough, read on to find out what makes her our newest Campus Celebrity.
Name: Melissa McCleery
Hometown: Allentown, PA
Major: Women’s Studies, Political Science and Spanish
HC: What made you want to run for UPUA president during this election season?
Melissa: I’ve fallen so in love with Penn State over my three years here, and UPUA has always been a way for me to give back to a place that’s given me so much. I felt like running for President would be a great way for me to continue the work that I love doing.
HC: What qualities do you think are most important when it comes to being a UPUA representative?
Melissa: To be involved in UPUA, you have to keep in mind the promise we make when we get sworn in: “to work toward the betterment of student life.” I always keep this in mind when I’m doing work in UPUA, because that has to be our guiding principle. It’s all about the students.
HC: In your opinion, what makes our university such an amazing place to be?
Melissa: I think Penn State is so much more than campus. It’s really a living, breathing thing that you come to know and understand throughout your time here. When I first moved in, I never imagined that I’d form such a strong relationship with a college. What makes Penn State special is that each person has this really unique and really special relationship with the University, and that builds a really strong community between all Penn Staters.
HC: What has been your favorite Penn State experience been so far?
Melissa: I guess it’s not one single event, but I like that I’m able to look back on my time here and see how I’ve grown as a person. I’m a totally different person than I was when I moved into East my freshman year, and seeing the ways that I’ve changed make me excited about who I’m becoming. I get to become who I’m going to be here, and that’s a multiple-year experience that I’m going to remember for a long time.
HC: What other extracurricular activities are you involved in, or would like to get involved in, on campus?
Melissa: I’m also a sister of Alpha Delta Pi and I’m a tour guide with Penn State Lion Scouts!
HC: What is the best advice you’ve ever gotten and who gave it to you?
Melissa: The best advice I ever got was from people in UPUA. They told me to always surround myself with people that are smarter than me, because that pushes you. I think if you’re ever the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room. Being around people who push you is the best thing you can do to take yourself to the next level. It makes you work harder, think more critically, and do better work.