Melissa Allen Ph.D.'24


  • James Madison University, Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance
  • James Madison University, Master of Education in College Student Personnel Administration 

What is your current graduate assistantship?
I am a graduate assistant for Dr. Pamela Eddy and Dr. Esther Kim.

What organizations are you involved in?

  • Member of National Association of Student Personnel Administrators 
  • Member of Association for Student Conduct Administration
  • Member of Phi Beta Kappa

What volunteer capacities are you involved in?

  •  Member of Student Conduct Council

What are your research interests?
I am interested in the role of religious culture and beliefs in worldview and identity development of evangelical Protestant women during college through the lens of self-authorship. 

Why did you choose William & Mary?
When I started my research about beginning my doctorate, I knew I wanted an ability to tailor my studies to my interests, which the Ph.D. here at W&M allows me to do. Having a core set of classes that all EPPL students take allows me to interact with students that I may not have in a very siloed program. This shows the interconnectedness between K-12 and higher education isn't often acknowledged in other programs. After taking these core classes we not only focus on our concentration, but also create a cognate of classes that allow us to focus on lasses and topics that will help us toward our career goals. 

There is also an emphasis on research in this program that I didn't see in many others. Having us begin with research methods courses on day one not only prepares us to be successful in our own research, but tells us that faculty and administration view research as integral to the life of doctoral students. This mirrors my own view of the importance of research in education and my desire to be in a research heavy role after graduating.

Like most Ph.D. students faculty was important to me when I was looking at schools. Being able to interact with faculty on a regular basis is something that I knew I wanted and I have experienced that from the day that I was accepted. Dr. Eddy sent me an email congratulating me on my acceptance, welcoming to the program and the School of Education, and encouraging me to reach out with any questions I had. This was something I never had happen before , so having more than just an acceptance letter showed me that I was more than just an application. This has continued through my time in the program. The faculty are not just great researchers, but great educators as well and their excitement for the field and their students reverberates through the program. 

What is your favorite thing about the program?
I really enjoy being in an environment where I feel supported and connected with my faculty members and my classmates. Beginning the program during Covid-19 has definitely made my start different than I imagined it would be, but it has honestly showed me how great of a community exists in the School of Education here. If I am feeling supported by everyone through a Zoom call, then when we are able to be in person, I know it will be such a wonderful place to be a student and a researcher. 

How has attending William & Mary impacted your career to date?
I am just beginning my studies, but I feel so optimistic about my future and what I am going to be doing. I know that my education at William & Mary will prepare me to be successful in my career and that what I am learning now will benefit me in the future.