Melissa Steward

Program Director

Melissa serves as the director of AdviseMI, responsible for oversight of the program, team, and relationships with partner high schools, higher education institutions, AmeriCorps, and other key partners. She plans and oversees the four-week college adviser summer training with other staff and partners, as well as the monthly professional development days throughout the program year.  

Melissa served both as an AmeriCorps VISTA and VISTA leader for Michigan Campus Compact, before going on to help form and manage the statewide Michigan Nonprofit Association Civic Engagement AmeriCorps VISTA Program. As a VISTA directly out of college, she focused on strategic initiatives at the organization with a large focus on a new college access curriculum, and then trained and supported a large team of VISTAs focused on service-learning at colleges across the state during her service term as a VISTA Leader. The MNA Civic Engagement VISTA program formed under Melissa during her time as a program manager, combining three individual AmeriCorps VISTA programs into one large program that supporting VISTAs focused on education and economic opportunity within campuses, volunteer centers, and K-12 schools. Immediately before coming to MCAN, Melissa was the associate director of Michigan Campus Compact, where she focused on her passion for college access and student success by supporting student leaders on campuses, planning an annual statewide student leadership conference, and managing a GEAR UP grant with six university partners focused on College Positive Volunteerism. In her current role as director of AdviseMI, Melissa is living the dream with three of her passions combined into one role: college access and success, supporting young professionals, and national service!  

Melissa earned her bachelor's degree from Central Michigan University. Her mom was her biggest cheerleader and wanted her to have the tools she needed to pursue a career doing what she loved after the family experienced job loss first-hand. This drove Melissa to work hard to get good grades to earn scholarships for college. She became familiar with CMU from visiting friends who attended, and it was this familiarity that led to her to attended the college. Melissa worked her way through college and became actively involved in the Communication Association, which led her to learning about AmeriCorps. 

Outside of work, Melissa enjoys reading, spending time with her family and friends, and being a mother to her two boys whom she adores, Broderick and Harrison. She also loves serving as a community volunteer with the Capital Regional Community Foundation.

1st generation college grad
Central Michigan University Bachelor of Applied Arts, Interpersonal and Public Communication