Office of Alumni Relations

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When Melissa Grant (B.S.’13/E) graduated from high school in Vienna, Virginia, she wanted to become a registered dietitian. Though VCU didn’t have an undergraduate program in dietetics, she knew it was the right place for her. “I thought, ‘I just have to go there, and I’ll figure it out,’” Grant says. She earned a VCU degree in health, physical education and exercise science and later completed a master’s degree in public health nutrition from Liberty University.

Melissa Grant
Melissa Grant (B.S.’13/E)

Grant, who lives in northern Virginia, manages internal communications for the 5,000+ employees of Oak Street Health, an organization that provides primary care services for older adults on Medicare.

Ten years after graduating from VCU, Grant’s love for her alma mater endures, and she remains connected through the DMV alumni chapter. In 2020, Grant joined the African American Alumni Council, and, last year, she was elected to the Recent Graduate Council. As a member of the advisory council, she helps develop and implement strategies that keep recent graduates engaged with one another and the university.

Why did you apply to join the Recent Graduate Council? 

I deeply care about VCU; the classes, professors and extra-curriculars shaped me, and I wanted to find a meaningful way to give back. I thought the Recent Graduate Council would be a great opportunity to not only connect back to the university, but also connect other students and alumni in new and exciting ways. 

How do you benefit from your involvement in RGC and AAAC?

They’re both really fun opportunities to connect with former students from all over (geographically) and from different walks of life. We may have different careers, but we’re coming together because of a common goal: supporting VCU and its future. We want to help other students, and we want to bring attention to the great work the university is doing. 

What advice would you give graduates?

  • Don’t stress and rush adulthood. Being an adult with more responsibilities is a longer part of your life than being younger, so take time to rest! You don’t need to have your whole life plan figured out when you graduate. See what interests you and lean into that. You can figure out what you want to pursue as a career by volunteering with organizations and networking. It’s also OK to switch careers if something else interests you later on.
  • Network. Try to leverage different friends in different groups and find out what they’re doing. You can talk to family friends or people from local organizations or the church you’re involved with; also look into joining a LinkedIn professional group to make connections there as well. I’ve learned to get exposure in ways I feel comfortable with. 
  • Get involved with your nearest VCU Alumni chapter. You never know who you’ll meet and where that could take you. Those connections could lead to a new best friend, colleague or mentor. Getting involved could also open doors to new job opportunities. Plus, you can attend fun sporting events with the Ramily!

Help VCU Alumni do amazing things!

As a recent graduate, you’re the perfect person to help us engage new graduates and enhance their experiences with the university and with VCU Alumni. Can you help us? Complete the Recent Graduate Council application by April 30! Questions? Contact Allison Toney, senior director of student and alumni engagement, at, or connect with Melissa on LinkedIn

Categories Alumni