My name is Melisa M. Hypolite and I was born in Trinidad, an island in the Caribbean. My family then moved to southern New Jersey where I was fortunate enough to live in a small city. The schools I attended while growing up and the schools I've worked at have vast similarities and differences. Each level of my education and my professional career has taught me valuable lessons that I am now able to share with my readers.
After I graduated from high school I moved to Baltimore, MD to attend Morgan State University. Though I enjoyed my years in college, being an out-of-state student with very little scholarship money caused me to accrue excessive student loan debt. I am what’s referred to as a first generation college student. Meaning, neither of my parents went to college so we had to figure out the college going process by trial and error. I want the young people I work with to make better decisions when it comes to post-secondary planning and paying for their education. Most of the youth I work with are first generation college students just like I was.
I have over ten years of experience. I have been a K-12 substitute teacher, an admissions rep and assistant director of admissions at a trade school, a high school advisor, an adjunct faculty member at two community colleges and I've organized various education centered community events and student centered college tours. I received a Marion Flagg Scholarship in 2017 from the Potomac & Chesapeake Association For College Admission Counseling (PCACAC), Counselor of the Year award in 2018 and I did an Anchor Talk at PCACAC's 53rd annual conference. My talk shared lessons learned from working with predominantly first generation college students. In addition, I received the 2018 Student Support Grant from PCACAC which enabled me to purchase and distribute copies of I'm Ready to families in Baltimore City and an Imagine Grant from the National Association of College Admission Counseling (NACAC) which will allow me to attend their 74th annual conference. Farther on, I've had the pleasure of participating in week long US Navy and Marine workshops where I performed training procedures such as operating military simulators, handling weapons and traversing obstacles on a recruit training course. You can find videos highlighting my experience at Parris Island Recruit Depot on my YouTube page.
Most recently, I became Founder and CEO of Restoring Education And Developing Youth Initiative (READY Initiative), a 501c3 organization which will empower underrepresented populations through educational development. We assist students who desire a post-secondary education with the means to make their dreams a reality.
My experiences have allowed me to work with learners from ages 5- 65 who come from different cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. In addition, I have been fortunate enough to visit various high schools, universities and training facilities throughout the contiguous United States, US Virgin Islands, Trinidad and Barbados.
I've lived in two countries and two states. Based on my experience, I would say without a doubt that a quality education and a supportive "village" can change a person's life. I am proud to be the product of both.
Melisa M. Hypolite, MBA