Team Feature: Meet Alyssa Maria Melani!

Alyssa Maria Melani – Talking Hearts Student Coordinator

Hi! I’m Alyssa Maria Melani! I’m from Pittsburgh, PA and I am currently a third-year acting major. When I’m not in class, I love spending time outside on a hike with my dogs or watching movies with friends.

Tell us about how you got involved in the “Talking Hearts” project. 

I applied to an open job call. The position and requirements were vague, so I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into, but I took the leap anyway. I have had the best time working on this project with a fantastic group of people. I have loved witnessing the project grow from a one sentence concept to a fully fledged production, with various avenues of artistic expression and community engagement.

How has your experience working in this project been so far? What are your key takeaways?

Working on this project has been amazing. It’s been such a gift to watch a project grow from a tag line to a fully functioning mission. The best part is, the project is always growing, changing, and expanding. There is always something to look forward too, which keeps me from boredom or complacency.

What do “Heart Maps” mean to you?

Heart maps show us who a person is beyond a superficial level. They allow us to expose vulnerable parts of ourselves and have others meet us at the same level. There are so many layers to who a person is and through heart maps we begin to peel them back.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself!

A fun fact about me is that one time I slow danced with Michael Jordan at a party (and called him the wrong name lol I was only 8!)

What does ‘community’ mean to you? How has this changed?

Community used to mean the number of individuals I was friends with or the quantity of groups I was a part of, but over the last two years my perspective has greatly changed. Once quarantine started, I began to rely heavily on my family as my support system. Having such a strong relationship with them has helped me accept that a few strong friendships are more important than many superficial ones. Today, community means the places and people who will pick me up when I’m at my lowest and cheer for me when I’m at my highest.

Favorite color, song, book or movie?

The Great Gatsby (I named my dog after it!)

Alyssa’s adorable dog Gatsby!

One thing you can’t live without?

Not really one, but my family.

What are your long term goals?

After college I plan on pursuing acting full time and am looking forward to spending my life doing what I love. I also hope to grow into my confidence and power, learning new skills for how to navigate anxiety and stress. Overall, my goals are to stay true to myself in whatever I do and never compromise.

Any social media handles/personal websites where our viewers can follow you?

Instagram: @alyssamelani


Featured Image Credit: Alyssa Maria Melani

Talking Hearts UMich

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