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2020-2021 Presidential Distinguished Non-Exempt Staff

Melody Wright, Academic Business Services Specialist, Biological Sciences

Melody Wright has consistently excelled in positions of increasing responsibility in the Department of Biological Sciences over the past eight years. She goes above and beyond in effectively and efficiently supporting the department’s leadership, faculty, staff, and students, while also continuing her own education and serving the University and her local community.

Wright joined the UMBC community in 2011 as an Administrative Assistant in the Department of Biological Sciences, where she displayed  strong interpersonal skills and a talent for process improvement. She quickly established herself as an efficient steward of taxpayer funds by saving the department $25,000 in its office supply budget.

In 2013, she became the department’s Graduate Program Coordinator, a complex position that included recruiting and advising students; preparing contracts; ensuring compliance with all Graduate School rules, regulations, requirements; tracking student progress; and planning events including the annual Graduate Association of Biological Sciences Symposium and graduate student visit day. She also managed the department’s budget and front office staff. In this position, Wright proactively took on additional responsibilities and taught herself new skills to enhance and modernize the department’s processes. She developed and implemented a new system for guiding students to degree completion and the department’s transition to an electronic graduate recruitment process.

Wright has been Assistant to the Department Chair since 2019, supporting the department chair, 36 faculty, and more than 2,000 students. She is scheduling coordinator for more than 70 classes, and uses her strong organizational and interpersonal skills to schedule classes, discussion sessions, and labs, often partnering with schedulers in other departments for cross-departmental courses. Wright also serves as the department’s events coordinator, scheduling events including lectures, faculty retreats, and conferences.

In addition to her departmental work, Wright serves the UMBC community as Vice President of the Non-Exempt Staff Senate (NESS) and represents the NESS on the University Steering Committee, of which she is the Vice Chair. She is the first staff member from her department to serve in such a high-profile campus role. Wright is also active in her local community. where she has served as a Girl Scout leader and in leadership roles with her homeowners association.

Wright graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in business administration from the University of Maryland, University College while working full-time at UMBC. She earned a post-baccalaureate certificate and is working toward a master’s degree in instructional systems development at UMBC.