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Alumni Spotlight: Melinda Iannarone

Melinda Iannarone graduated from Montclair State University in 2013 with an MA in Child Advocacy and Policy. She currently works as the Volunteer and Resource Specialist in Children’s Aid and Family Services.

Posted in: Online Student Stories

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Why did you choose Montclair State University?

I was born and raised by the beach. I wanted to use college as a way to explore a new lifestyle and way of living. Being so close to the city, I knew Montclair State would give me the opportunity to do that. Also, I loved campus and its diversity. I had always wanted to work with children and Montclair State had a number of ways where I could make my dreams become a reality.

Why did you choose the MA program in Child Advocacy and Policy?

I was completing my Bachelor’s degree as a double major in Jurisprudence and Political Science, and one of my elective choices was CHAD 300, Forensic Interviewing of Children. After the first class, I was hooked! I walked right over to the Child Advocacy Center and added the Undergraduate Certificate in Child Advocacy and Policy. From that moment on, all of my work became interdisciplinary to include, jurisprudence, political science and child advocacy. After completing my undergrad and being so in love with the Child Advocacy courses, I chose to pursue my master’s in Child Advocacy and Policy, and became a graduate assistant for the department. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made

What are you doing now, and how has your study of Child Advocacy helped you in your “life after Montclair State?”

I currently work in the development department at Children’s Aid and Family Services as the Volunteer and Resource Specialist. Our mission at Children’s Aid and Family Services is to preserve, protect, and when needed, provide for vulnerable children and families. The MA in Child Advocacy prepared me to contribute and be an important part of the field. When you work in the non-profit world, you have to be a critical and creative thinker, an eloquent and persuasive writer, know how to appropriately speak to a child based on their age and the extent of their abuse, possess a set of beliefs, but also have the ability to see more than one side of the case. Most importantly, you have to be a strong and determined advocate for vulnerable children and their rights as a child. I learned all of these skills from my time spent at the child advocacy center because I was challenged in every class, by each of my professors to do so. For that, I am forever grateful to Center for Child Advocacy.