Staff Spotlight: Melissa Edwards Smith

Melissa Edwards Smith is a program coordinator in the Global Training Initiative, a unit of the Office of Global Engagement. Smith recently received the Office of Global Engagement’s Campus Outreach Award.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’ve been in the field of international education since 2002, previously working for the UNC Center for International Understanding facilitating short-term study programs for policymakers and community leaders. Much of what I was focused on was helping communities work together to better integrate their new Latino residents and to better understand the push/pull factors around migration from Mexico to North Carolina. I was also fortunate enough to facilitate study programs for industry and government leaders to examine economic development topics that are important to the future of North Carolina, like advanced manufacturing in Germany or the biomedical industry in Singapore.

How long have you been with NC State and the Office of Global Engagement?

Coming up on five years already!

Tell us what you do in a few sentences.

I work primarily with the SKEMA program, helping to show hundreds of students the rich culture and the business ecosystem of North Carolina. I’m a big believer in experiential education, so I focus on getting the SKEMA students to interact with NC State students, visit cultural or historic sites, as well as taking them to meet with entrepreneurs or companies that have a North Carolina history. I also get to support some other exciting efforts on campus like our Global Skills training and integrating our curriculum into the Namibia Wildlife Aerial Observation program.

What’s your favorite thing about your work?

I love working in the field of international education, seeing others’ excitement of discovering a new place and culture, and showing others the type of hospitality that made an impact on me when I was studying abroad.

Tell us one thing we might be surprised to learn about you.

I really enjoy hiking on the weekends with my kids. We’ve made it a part of our routine to get out and explore trails year-round.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I enjoying running outdoors most mornings before my children wake up, and then they become my main focus outside of work.

What’s one thing on your desk you brought from home?

I have a soft woolen llama that a Peruvian friend gave me about 10 years ago. He’s an excellent office mate.

What’s your favorite travel destination?

My favorite place is usually the next one I’m going to. I love traveling!