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Melissa De Feo ’06

New York City Department of Education

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“I loved attending Montclair State because I felt like I had a lot of options and Psychology became my passion,” says Melissa De Feo ’06, a very involved and proud alumna of Montclair State. Melissa graduated from Montclair State with a BA in Psychology in 2006. After pursuing her undergraduate degree, she went to pursue her Master’s Degree in Applied Developmental Psychology at Fordham University.

De Feo says that her undergraduate experience at Montclair State was “phenomenal”. She was able to take courses in biology and Italian, as well as being able to study abroad. Melissa was one of the founders of the Italian American Student Organization (MSU Amici Club) thanks to the support of the Coccia Institute.

Commuting to Montclair instead of living on campus was a tradeoff for De Feo, because every summer she had the opportunity to backpack through Europe. After backpacking through Europe, she would come back and work during the year while attending classes, then do it all over again the following summer. Being able to have that experience every summer was very important to her, and she felt that going to school locally gave her that opportunity.

“Thanks to Montclair State’s reasonable tuition, students are able to have other experiences and not graduate with enormous debt,” says De Feo. As MSU expands and grows, I hope they continue to value affordability.

All of the skills that she learned in school and the extra-curricular activities she was involved in helped her in her professional life. During graduate school, Melissa was a teaching assistant in the Natural Sciences Department and was able to continue using her understanding of language and work with children in education.

After graduate school, she worked in an applied setting where she was able to help develop programs, projects and curriculum, work with children in education and in health. Some of her tasks were to interview people and collect data to see how educational programs or messages could be improved. She did that for two years, and is now currently working for the New York City Department of Education.

It took her a while to know what she wanted to do and how she would use Psychology, but once she found the industry, she found that’s exactly where she wanted to be.

Giving back to Montclair State is important to De Feo and is part of a family legacy. Her uncle was president of MSU’s Alumni Association while she was a current student. As an alumna herself, De Feo became involved in the Recent Alumni Network (RAN) Committee, as a way to pay it forward to current students. “I love talking to students and being involved with networking events,” says De Feo.