Melissa Landrau Vega, M.Ed.
Assistant Director / Counselor & Coordinator of Latina/o Initiatives
Melissa Landrau Vega was born and raised in Carolina, Puerto Rico. She started her college education at the University of Puerto Rico, transferring later to Iowa State University. At Iowa State, Melissa participated in various leadership opportunities such as the Government of the Student Body, the Hispanic American Student Union, and Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority. She also worked in various departments, including Upward Bound, Residence Life, Student Activities and Minority Student Affairs. After graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology, Melissa worked at the Iowa State’s Student Development and Activity Center, offering courses and programs on leadership development and diversity. She later became program coordinator for the Office of International Students & Scholars, where she coordinated a federally-funded program for Central American students.
While working at ISU, Melissa recognized the impact college experiences can have on student development and success, which prompted her to pursue a degree in higher education. Upon arriving to Penn State in 1996, she coordinated an exchange program for Higher Education students in the United States, Mexico and Canada, and 3 years later accepted a position as a full-time counselor for the Multicultural Resource Center. In 2001, Melissa became director of the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP), a federally-funded program designed to recruit and support college students with migrant and seasonal farmworker backgrounds. For 13 years, she offered direct counseling to CAMP students and developed successful initiatives to help them succeed at Penn State.
Melissa completed a Master’s Degree in Higher Education and has served the Penn State community as a member of committees such as CORED and the Staff Advisory Committee, as adviser to several student organizations, and as a long-term coordinator of Hispanic Heritage Month and the Association of Latina/o Professionals. As a proud Latina, she has also coordinated various community programs for those interested in learning about the Latino/a culture.
Melissa has re-joined the Multicultural Resource Center, as assistant director. In this role, she hopes to continue supporting underrepresented students, enhancing students’ college experiences, and showcasing and celebrating the Latina/o culture. For Melissa, pride in one’s culture and heritage is essential to our development and success; and thus, her favorite quote (by Francisco Alarcón) reads, “I carry my roots with me all the time, rolled up, I use them as my pillow."