Intercultural Specialist, American Indian/Indigenous Student Initiatives
Boozhoo. Melissa Beard Jacob nindizhinikaaz. Awunkoquay nindigoo ojibwemong. Migizi nindoodem. Mishigamaa nindoonjibaa. Miigwetch.
The above statement is in the Indigenous language of Anishinaabemowin. It translates as: Hello. My colonial name is Melissa Beard Jacob. My spirit name in Ojibwe is Woman in the Fog. My clan is the eagle clan. I come from Michigan. Thank you.
Melissa has been involved with advocating for social justice initiatives within the Native American community since her undergraduate days at Michigan State University. As an undergrad, Melissa was active in the MSU North American Indigenous Student Organization (NAISO) as the public relations representative and the Native American Journalist Association. She received a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Michigan State University and went on to earn a master’s degree in Film and Media Studies from Wayne State University.
Prior to arriving at Ohio State, Melissa served as a program coordinator for the Office of International Programs and Services at George Mason University. She was also the president of the GMU Native American and Indigenous Alliance (NAIA) and a member of the American Indian Society of Washington, D.C.
Melissa is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in the Cultural Studies program at George Mason. Her research interests include: collective memory and cultural trauma, Indigenous methodologies and performance theory. Melissa’s upcoming dissertation will focus on her own family’s personal history and experiences within the Native American boarding school system and its effects on the familial narrative and sense of identity.
As an enrolled member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, Melissa is extremely proud of her Anishinaabe heritage. She hopes to inspire other Native students to obtain a higher education and utilize their gifts and talents to positively influence their tribal communities.