I want to teach the value of respect and show students how to believe in themselves through a rigorous science curriculum, so that they may ultimately achieve their goals.”

Kelly’s Story

Growing up with a younger sibling with disabilities, Kelly Melendez has always looked at her brother as a source of inspiration. “He has taught my family how to be patient and has demonstrated that, with encouragement, a person’s limits are boundless. This philosophy is at the heart of my teaching.”

Kelly decided early in life that she wanted to teach. She vividly remembers a conversation she had with her fifth grade teacher outlining the steps she needed to take in order to become one. When Kelly was in sixth grade, she was inspired by another teacher who “taught our class the value of respect. I realized then that teachers can teach more than just the curriculum. He inspired me further to pursue my dream to teach.” Kelly graduated from Hartwick College with a degree in geology and Spanish and completed her graduate degree in civil engineering at the University of New Hampshire. Fluent in Spanish, she spent the summer of 2003 teaching on an indigenous reserve in Costa Rica, returning two years later to teach at an urban private school for six months. These experiences have resonated deeply within her.

Kelly wants to continue teaching in an urban area because she enjoys the cultural diversity of the classroom. “I believe teachers can learn from students’ unique perspectives and I believe there are still many lessons my students can teach me.”