A first generation Filipina American, Melinda was born and raised in Lake Wales, Florida. Earning a BA in English Literature with highest honors from the University of Florida, Melinda has since received an MA in English Literature from University of Miami (Florida); an MA in Cinema Studies, Graduate School of Arts and Science/Tisch School of the Arts at New York University; and an MS in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution at Columbia University. She currently is pursuing her doctorate in Media Studies. Melinda's interests include social justice and diversity education, intercultural dialogue and mediation, and new media -- specifically Techno-Orientalism, cyborg culture, social media's role in identity construction and youth activism, and narratology in RPG video games. Melinda has been at Columbia since 2005 serving as the first assistant dean with the Office of Multicultural Affairs, which was established in 2004. Prior to Columbia, she worked at New York University for over five years focusing on diversity education and training, APIA student outreach, graduate student of color programs, women of color programs, and art & activism projects.