San José State UniversityTrustee Emeritus William Hauck Scholar
Melissa Ortiz is the first person in her family to attend college. After her father's untimely death, she faced homelessness, extreme poverty, and mental and physical abuse from her relatives. Forced to quit the San José State University softball team, Melissa started her own company and an internship to support herself.
Melissa is currently an undergraduate student at San José State University, majoring in computer engineering with an emphasis on embedded systems. She maintains a 3.3 GPA and is a member of multiple campus organizations that have enabled her to partake in multidisciplinary projects. Melissa volunteers at park clean-ups, robotics competitions and tutoring sessions. Melissa also worked with the Bay Area Women's Sports Initiative, which stresses the importance of a good education and a healthy body to young women. Melissa aspires to earn a master's degree in both computer science and business administration so she can run her own engineering firm. Melissa aims to inspire young women to be independent and have an interest in STEM fields.