Melissa Orzechowski of Grandville was named the 2016 Northern Michigan University Board of Trustees’ Outstanding Student of any class standing. The board's student achievement awards are presented annually to recognize students for their significant contributions to the quality of life at NMU through involvement in extra-curricular activities or through work in a university department.
Orzechowski recently graduated from NMU with a triple major in environmental studies and sustainability, English writing and communication studies, with a Spanish minor. She was named outstanding graduating senior by two of those academic departments.
Orzechowski received a full-ride Harden Scholarship through the NMU Presidential Scholars competition. She also engaged in undergraduate research as a Freshman Fellow and through the Anna and Rich Lundin Summer Research Fellowship. While attending Northern, she participated in the NMU Honors Program, Student Leader Fellowship Program and Superior Edge. She coordinated the campus Volunteer Center and received the Michigan Campus Compact Newman Civic Fellows Award, which goes to select students nominated by university presidents for addressing the root causes of social issues.
Orzechowski also helped to establish the Northern Climate Network and organize the People’s Climate March in Marquette. She has interned at the Land Trust Alliance in Washington D.C. where she played a role in No Impact Week, volunteered at the NMU Hoop House and has contributed to Marquette’s climbing community.
With the goal of solidifying her Spanish language skills, Orzechowski will travel and volunteer in Central America before working for a period as an au pair in Spain, where she had previously spent time on a study abroad program. She is thinking about pursuing a doctorate in English literature upon her return.