By: Richard L. Smith
NJ, meet Melanie Oliveira, a Union Township resident and candidate for a Master's degree at Kean University, who was inducted into the Phi Alpha Honor Society - Zeta Chi Chapter on Saturday.
The honor recognizes her exemplary work in social justice, a cause she has been passionate about since her time at Newark's Arts High School, where she was a broadcast student.
The University honored over a dozen Masters's Degree recipients for the honor society during the event.
Oliveira, who comes from a family of public and educational servants, spent her childhood engaged in the life of hundreds of children in Newark's Ironbound section.
Since 9th grade, she worked at The Ironbound Boys & Girls Club as a tutor and used her experience as an Americorp volunteer to feed people experiencing homelessness.
"I am honored to be inducted into the Phi Alpha Honor Society and grateful for the recognition of my work in social justice," said Oliveira.
“I believe everyone is responsible for creating a more just and equitable society, and I am committed to doing my part."
Oliveira has spent her entire college career at Kean University and has fallen in love with the campus and community.
“Kean University has been my second home," she said. "The faculty and staff have been incredibly supportive, and I have made lifelong friends here."
Oliveira's passion for social justice has been evident at Kean University. She has actively participated in initiatives where individuals who didn't feel they mattered were provided demonstrations that their abilities count.
The attribution is evident in Oliveira's induction into the Phi Alpha Honor Society and is the latest recognition of her hard work and dedication to social justice. She has also been saluted by several of her former high school teachers.
"I am grateful for these honors, but I know that the work is far from over," said Oliveira. "There is still so much to be done to create a more just and equitable society, and I am committed to continuing this work for as long as it takes."
As Oliveira moves forward in her academic and professional career, she hopes to continue positively impacting the world and inspiring others to do the same.
Oliveira plans to stay in the Newark region to begin working as a social worker.
Her dedication to social justice is a shining example of what can be achieved when working together for a better future.