Skip to main content

melisa stephen

they / them / theirs

Melisa Stephen
melisa is a non-binary queer South Asian organizer, educator, artist, and doula. They are also a Weinberg alum who studied Gender and Sexuality Studies and was an active member of SHAPE as well as an organizer of NU Divest and Sex Week during their time as a student. melisa has returned to Northwestern as a staff member after years of grassroots abolitionist organizing in Chicago.
melisa is passionate about transformative justice and the healing power of storytelling.  They have worked to build social justice movement spaces that are more trans-centered and that uplift the leadership and agency of BIPOC youth in Chicago. They are a founding member of For the People Artists Collective and a former core organizer of the Chicago Dyke March and Brown & Proud Press. Their work in community has received recognition such as Grassroots Collaborative's Bold Campaign award (#NoCopAcademy), Crossroads Fund's Ron Sable Award for Activism, and Chicago Freedom School's Champion of Justice award.

Areas of Focus

To assist our communities in finding the support and communication they need, we have outlined on these staff pages, the specific areas of focus each member of our staff oversees. Program Manager, melisa stephen, leads our centers in the following areas

Undergraduate Student Engagement

Thematic Programming

Gender Inclusivity


  • The Program manager serves as the advisor to College Feminists. 
  • They plan, organize, and run all student-facing programming (examples: Feminist First Year, Sex Week)
  • They build trust and means of collaboration with students and student organizations engaged in feminist and social justice-oriented thought and action on campus. 
  • They co-organize on events that are geared toward all audiences. 
  • The Program Manager researches, defines, and presents our annual theme. 
  • They lead all thematic programming with the exception of GSS courses. (examples: annual reading group, Women's History Month events).
  • They work with student and full time staff to promote education around our theme via social media, sponsored events, and our own internal learning initiatives. 
  • melisa leads our centers in answering two important questions: How can we provide programming that is Trans-Centered? How can we assure that all of our spaces and events are all gender inclusive?
  • This responsibility entails internal review and discussion as well as specific programmatic engagements and collaboration with other units. 
  • The Program Manager assists with projections, purchases, and expenses as they relate to our thematic programming.