Monday, July 12, 2010

Melinda Deyasi makes a difference for Coker Students

Melinda Deyasi is a Research Librarian at Coker. That is an important job all by itself on the campus of a small, private liberals arts college and Melinda will be missed by both students and faculty when it comes to her primary job as a Librarian. She is a creative research librarian, she was instrumental in a variety of changes at the Coker Library and Information Center during her time with Coker.

And, in her eight years at Coker College, Melinda has been involved in a number of student-related activities that have really broadened the definition of librarian. One area I know students will miss her is in the graduate school application process. Melinda had a way of helping students get involved with their grad school applications that helped several of them achieve schools they never expected to enter. She was able to introduce these students to the process of graduation school applications and once she introduced them, she stayed with them and on them to get all the pieces completed and sent off. Melinda has a no excuses policy and those with serious grad school intentions learned quickly that asking Melinda for assistance meant they would have a task master who would ensure they completed their end of the process. There are many students with Masters and about-to-be masters who benefited from Melinda's ideas, and disciplined-process approach.

A few years ago, when Dean Doubles fully retired, she also took on the job of helping students with the dream of becoming Fulbright scholars upon their graduation from Coker. Now, there are not many small liberal arts colleges with lots of Fulbright Scholars but Coker has had four Fulbright Schools since 2001. And, Melinda has proven over the last few years to be a strong champion for the Fulbright and for those students with the Fulbright dream. This year Anna Lippard is the Coker Fulbright Fellow. Last Spring, two students made it past the Fulbright committee with Anna also getting approved by the Country committee. Melinda's process of working with students, demonstrating a strategy that helps them accomplish all of the work involved in the application process and her continued cajoling, editing, commending and pushing have helped Coker students compete very favorably in this difficult, competitive academic fellowship competition.

This week I stopped over to see how Melinda's plans are coming for a major move in her life. Her husband Marco has been hired as a Humanities professor at the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho. She is moving to join him in that bustling college town. Coker is going to miss her contributions at all levels and students particularly will miss the on-target graduate school and Fulbright guidance that she has been giving. In fact, on this July afternoon she was still in the middle of the Fulbright process. She was getting out emails to students helping them keep their focus on the things that need doing in the Fulbright process now, because once school begins, it gets really difficult. (You will hear a little about this process in the video clip.)

In Hartsville, Melinda has been one of those people whose life is entwined with her work. Coker has been a better college because she has shared these last eight years with us on campus.

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