Melissa Ruiz, MSW began her career in higher education in Conferences and Events, before transitioning into Residence Life and then Student Life and Academic Advising. She jokingly says there isn’t a job in Student Affairs she hasn’t done yet. She obtained her Master of Social Work degree from Rutgers University, along with a certification in Gerontology and was a John A. Hartford Foundation Fellow.
Before college, Melissa was a competitive dancer, trained in tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical and hip-hop. At the ripe age of 16, she went on tour with some of the country’s greatest dancers and choreographers through Dance America. Melissa’s talent also took her to the Miss New Jersey stage, where she placed first runner-up. Through her time in pageants, she combined her love of dance and advocacy for older adults by performing at nursing homes, coordinating fundraisers and educating people about Alzheimer’s Disease. After her grandmother was diagnosed, Melissa made it her goal to spread awareness and raise funds for the treatment and ultimate cure of the disease.
Melissa is part of a facilitation team at Swift Kick that has been named the #1 APCA leadership program 5 years and has already worked with over 650 colleges and corporations in almost every state and worldwide. She also co-authored the Amazon.com best-selling book “First Year Student to First Year Success.”