Liberal Arts And Sciences
Hostos Student Ambassador
Global Scholars Program
Melissa Diaz was born in the Bronx, New York to Dominican mother and a Puerto Rican father. She grew up in the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx by Poe Park and attended several schools in the Bronx and Manhattan; including The Legacy School for Integrated Studies, before going to the Dominican Republic to study from 1997-2000. When she returned to New York, she attended the Bayard Rustin High School for the Humanities, where she developed her desire to make change in society.
Melissa began receiving vocal coaching when she was 11 years old, with the assistance of her father who loved to hear her sing. She performed in school shows and multi-cultural extravaganzas. She joined a Punk band at 16 years of age and then in her early twenties, she began to explore her roots and sing more Afro-Caribbean style music; in a variety of bands. To this day, Melissa continues to experiment with music and explore the values and motifs behind the cultural identity of sound. In the spring of 2010, Melissa and her band Sleeping Phoenix performed in the Hostos Repertory Theater in the show, Bronx Divas.
Melissa has also engaged herself in the arts, by performing on stage. In her teens she performed in community and school based theater productions, performing in a Troupe called; The Young Revelers Acting Troupe, that performed in St. Peter’s Church on 113th and Amsterdam Avenue in New York City. From there, Melissa continues her theater studies, but exploded onto the Hostos stage in Siempre Se Olvida Algo by Virgilio Piñero. For her performance, she received rave reviews.
Melissa has been a part of the Hostos Student Leadership Academy for two years, first serving in the Emerging Leaders Program and then becoming a Hostos Student Ambassador in September of 2009. As an Ambassador for Hostos, Melissa served as one of fourteen student-delegates to represent the Dominican Republic at the 2010 Model United Nations, (she served on The Commission on the Status of Women) and also served as a member of the 2010 New York State Model Senate Session Project in Albany, where she sat in the seat Senator William J. Larkin Jr. and debated on the issue of term limits.
Melissa was a part of the 2009-2010 Global Scholars Program and was accepted to study at Columbia University in the fall of 2010, on a full scholarship. Melissa was also Vice President for Leadership in Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society and was a member of the Women’s Empowerment Organization and the Puerto Rican Club.
At the Hostos Community College June 2010 graduation ceremony, Melissa, with her 3.939 GPA was the Valedictorian and gave a rousing speech to her classmates and in front of a high profile crowd, which included Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. In her speech, she thanked her father, who was killed on Flight 587 in Queens Harbor in 2001. She also thanked those who made it possible for the tragedy to be memorialized on the Hostos campus.
Melissa has done extensive work in the community and has a passion to give back to those both here in the United States and in the countries around the world. She has had a chance to study abroad in the Dominican Republic and Italy. She has also engaged in volunteer activities in the Dominican Republic and South Africa.