Melissa Gaeke, Ph.D is the Director of the Center for Civic Engagement and Leadership and Professional Lecturer in Political Science at Marist College. In her work at Marist, she connects her students and faculty colleagues with opportunities for teaching and learning in the greater Poughkeepsie area. Through these efforts, she works to develop and enhance relationships with local, community serving organizations. Melissa has a doctorate in Public Administration from the University of Southern California’s Sol Price School of Public Policy. Her interests include engaging students in activities that teach them about civic engagement and working with nonprofit organizations to build their capacity to access resources and connect with stakeholders. Prior to arriving at Marist in the Fall of 2014, Melissa was the Executive Director of Academic Partnerships from 2010 - 2014 at the University of Southern California. In that role, she created and supported partnerships between USC’s civic engagement programs, the research of the University’s academic units, and community stakeholders. From 2003-2010, Melissa served as the Director of the USC Volunteer Center, where she was responsible for implementing a variety of community service and community-based learning programs for undergraduate students. Melissa began her career in New York City where she held a variety of leadership positions at Jacob Riis Neighborhood Settlement, a mid-sized social service agency in Queens, NY from 1994-1999.