Melissa Calvert

Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Navy | Nuclear Electronics Technician

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About Melissa:

Growing up, I was not really into academics. I didn’t do homework at all, ever, and I started skipping in elementary school. I eventually dropped out of high school to get my GED during my senior year. I received an associate’s degree from a shady for-profit college that no longer exists before joining the Navy in 2009 due to economic hardship.

In the Navy, I was a Nuclear Electronics Technician/Reactor Operator/Nuke. I knew almost immediately that I wasn’t a lifer because I’m not a fan of rules and structure. However, I did learn the discipline to function in such an environment, and I finished my entire, long, 6-year contract.

Getting out of the Navy was really hard for me. I flew back from a deployment in the Middle East and lost my job, income, home, and friends all at once. Luckily, I was able to focus my energy on my studies and some extracurriculars at Tacoma Community College. I was trying to transfer into my state’s top public university, but on a whim decided to apply to the number one public and private universities in the country for my major. I may have overshot my state school goals because I got into MIT.

At MIT, I’m course 6-2 (Electrical Engineering and Computer Science). The veteran community is very small, so I’m an officer for a student organization that includes both graduate and undergraduate students. Our mission is to make MIT more veteran-friendly as well as build a stronger veteran network among the student body. To go along with this, we encourage our fellow veterans to apply to MIT or any other university they may have doubts about getting into.

I feel like I’ve lived three very different lives, and my favorite thing is to encourage and help others who may have had a few bumps in the road but are just as deserving and capable as any other elite university student.


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