Melody Porter

Melody Porter
  • Director, Office of Community Engagement
  • Archived Blogger

About Melody Porter

I am a long-time fan of connecting with people in all kinds of settings. I used to say that my major in college (above my actual political science & religion double major) was in friendships. Conversations over long meals or late nights on dorm hallway floors have been transformative in my life, and it only makes sense to me to dip my toe into new ways of opening up conversation here.

Some details about my life and role at W&M: I came to William & Mary in August 2008, and I spend my time fostering student leadership in alternative breaks, developing strong community partnerships so we can help meet shared goals, and moving community engagement efforts at the university forward. Doing so lets me fulfill what I understand my calling to be about: working for social justice in the world, and equipping others to do so with skill, sensitivity, and great love.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Religion from Emory University, I served as a long-term volunteer for three years, beginning a job development program in Philadelphia and working with preschool children in Johannesburg, South Africa. I came back to Emory to earn a Master of Divinity from the Candler School of Theology. I managed a nonprofit family literacy program with immigrant and refugee families, and went on from there to be Associate Minister at First United Methodist Church of Germantown in Philadelphia, working in areas of social justice and community development, and directing an after school program that served more than 100 high school students. I returned to Emory to serve for three years as director of Volunteer Emory, a student-led department for community service. In 2015, a book that I co-authored with Shoshanna Sumka and Jill Piacitelli, was published - Working Side by Side: Creating Alternative Breaks as Catalysts for Global Learning, Student Leadership, and Social Change.

Through all of my professional and volunteer experiences, and life in general, I have seen how connected and interdependent people and communities are everywhere I believe in the power of mutual service to transform lives and create social change.

Posts by Melody Porter

Values & the Big Picture

As part of W&M’s Strategic Planning process, we as a university are reflecting on and articulating our shared values. It’s an exciting time, and

Retreat? More Like an Advance.

When I was a minister, I frequently visited an older woman who was not able to come to church anymore. She was hilarious and

Try, Try Again

My 18 month old daughter has been learning how to use a fork. As often happens with anything new, she’s had a lot more

Kindness in Action

Last Friday afternoon, 150 people gathered in New Town for the kick-off event to celebrate a new Williamsburg community initiative: #WMBGkind. It’s much more

Choosing W&M

In 2008, I had a bad day at work. Unlike other days, when I would brush it off and move on, I thought it

Building Trust in Community – Part II

When I applied for the Community Trustbuilding Fellowship, I did so because I hoped it would inform my work in the Office of Community

Building Trust in Community

Two weekends ago, I awoke in a former monastery overlooking the James River, the Richmond skyline, and a stream of headlights coursing through I-95.

What Does Community Engagement Look Like Now?

We in the Office of Community Engagement began this academic year with a phrase ringing in our hearts: “Just a small dot in a huge,

First Do No Harm

Most of the pre-med and pre-health students I know get into their career paths from a place of deep care for others, wishing to