My name full name is Diana Melendez (full version being Diana Alejandra Melendez Romero.) I am the daughter of amazing parents, middle child of three sisters, cousin to many, godmother to a spirited 2 year old, sometimes runner and occasionally an artist, cat mom and enthusiastic friend to awesome people! I am originally from Mexico and have lived in NJ all my US-based life.
My background is in social work as a family therapist, behavioral health crisis services and also have some experience working in a middle-school, psychiatric hospital and doing in-home therapy with youth and families. While working with the Institute for Family Services, where I completed a post-graduate training, I was also able to participate in the organizing of the Liberation Based Healing Conference over the past couple of years which has been amazing! I also am connected with the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond and have been in the role of organizer/trainer through the Undoing Racism/Community Organizing Workshop, more so before I started studenting again.
I am currently a second year doctorate student in the Social Welfare program and am finding my interests to be in higher education and liberatory pedagogy. I am excited to be teaching in the social work programs at Columbia and NYU this semester as an adjunct lecturer and have been working to shape my classes to be the least lectury as possible. I believe higher education, and other institutional spaces where people come together, can be opportunities for critical-consciousness raising, relationship-building and resistance and that it is important for educators/researchers to use our access to sources/resources with a commitment to equity. I am looking forward to continuing to learn how to integrate interactive technology into these processes and maybe even claim a space within the digital humanities world!