Loyola University Chicago

The President’s Medallion

Kala Melchiori

PHOTO: Heather EidsonPhD candidate Kala Melchiori, right, works with undergraduate students during a weekly lab meeting for one of her classes. “In 10 years,” she says, “I want to be in a faculty position ... teaching and mentoring students.”

The Graduate School

Kala Melchiori 

Kala Melchiori stands out in the crowd—as a scholar and a student. Working toward a PhD in applied social psychology, Melchiori has six publications, four manuscripts in preparation, and 24 conference presentations under her belt.

She also served as last year’s president of the student council for the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues. After developing the first professional development workshop for students, she was named one of the society’s featured members—the only student to receive that honor.

Here, she reveals the big lessons her mentor passed on, why students should work closely with professors, and what she’ll miss most about Loyola.

What’s your favorite Loyola memory?

For my last class lecture, I like to provide a summary of what the class has accomplished, the big take-home messages, and how I hope people will use the material in their everyday lives. Afterwards, students sometimes clap, shake my hand, or come tell me what the class meant to them. Those moments make me feel like I had an impact on someone’s life—and they’re my favorite memories.

Talk a little about a professor or mentor who inspired you.

I have the best mentor on campus, hands down. Robyn Mallett, PhD, is supportive, honest, and incredibly skilled. She has taught me not only how to be a social psychologist but also how to be a good colleague, how to be protective of your time, and how to approach a situation to get what you need. I am a better scholar, teacher, and person because of her mentorship.

Tell us about your volunteer/service work and what it means to you.

I choose service activities that make my surroundings more like the world I want to live in. I have served as the graduate student representative for a national psychology organization. I am an active member of the Loyola psychology department’s Committee on Diversity Affairs, and I am currently helping Loyola’s Achieving College Excellence (ACE) program with an evaluation.

Any advice you would give students about how to get the most out of their education?

Talk to your professors and instructors. If a topic in class or their research project interests you, set up a time to come by their office and ask how to become more involved. Faculty and students have a mutually beneficial relationship. Faculty appreciate motivated students who contribute to their class or assist with their research, and students gain deeper knowledge and skills in a particular field.

Any spots on campus or in Chicago that you’ll miss?

Lake Michigan. It is a pleasure to see the lake every day when I walk to my office. The Lake Shore Campus is beautiful, in general, but the sight of the lake framed by the archways between the Information Commons and the Madonna della Strada Chapel on a sunny morning is unmatched.

And finally, what do you hope to be doing 10 years from now?

In 10 years, I want to be in a faculty position, pursuing my research on prejudice and discrimination, teaching and mentoring students, and growing as a university and community member. Ultimately, I hope to pass down the support of my undergraduate and graduate mentors and give away the knowledge I gain from my social psychological training.