Melissa Long’s favorite professor in college played an important role in her journey toward fighting educational inequality. Dr. Frank Henderson was her political science professor who taught political theory and civil liberties while she attended Ohio University. He was one of the first African-American students to attend and graduate from a desegregated school in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957 — the same year that Ruby Bridges and the Little Rock Nine were being escorted to class by the 101st Airborne. His passion for civil liberties and social justice captivated Melissa. He saw her untapped potential and challenged her to do more than what others simply expected of her. Already passionate about education and social justice, it was his mentorship that encouraged Melissa to join Breakthrough Collaborative, an organization that operates free college-preparatory programming with students from under-resourced communities, and spend her summer teaching seventh- and eighth-grade students in Sacramento. That experience led Melissa to a career fighting for educational equity across all school systems in the U.S.
At The Broad Center, Melissa is an associate director on the Partner Strategy team supporting school systems and the matching process for Broad Residency candidates.
Previously, Melissa spent six years with New Leaders serving in development, operations and research roles. She also worked on the growth, strategy and development team at Teach for America, managing donations and coaching fundraising staff across the country.