Providing the Educational Opportunities that Change Lives

Melissa Fries

Executive Director of College and Alumni Program
Melissa Fries

I was born and raised in Southern California (Go Lakers!) and attended UC Santa Barbara where I earned my Bachelor of Arts degree in Black Studies.  Attending graduate school in Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University brought me to the Bay Area.  During graduate school, I worked as a tutor at a program called Dream West and also at the SFSU Career Center which helped me decide that I wanted to stay in the field of education.  I learned about Making Waves from one of my professors, who was the organization’s Executive Director at the time.  I worked with 1st Wave-Richmond for a summer and then went on to jobs in administration at Menlo College and Stanford University.  I served on the MWEP Board of Directors before leaving Stanford in 2000 to work full time at Making Waves Education Program in Richmond with 6th Wave. I opened the San Francisco branch of MWEP in the fall of 2001 and transitioned to running CAP in 2013.  I enjoy my work because it combines three of my loves: young people, education and social justice.