U.S. State Department Diplomat in Residence Program at UIC

UIC is honored to be one of the approximately 15 U.S. universities who are offered the opportunity to host a State Department Diplomat in Residence. The DIR meets with students all over the midwest to discuss foreign service careers with the U.S. State Department. UIC has received the honor of hosting the DIR for eleven consecutive years, hosting nine DIRs in succession. On behalf of UIC, the Office of International Affairs hosts Diplomats in Residence.




Melissa Martinez is the U.S. State Department Diplomat in Residence for the Midwest.
Diplomats in Residence (DIRs) are a select group of career Foreign Service Officers and Specialists located throughout the U.S. who provide guidance and advice on careers, internships, and fellowships to students and professionals in the communities they serve.

Melissa Martinez is a media and communications professional with over fifteen years of international and domestic experience in the U.S. diplomatic service. As a Public Diplomacy Officer, Melissa has spent five of her eight tours serving in a Public Affairs role. Melissa most recently served as the Diplomat in Residence for Southern California. She has also worked as Deputy Press Attaché at the U.S. Embassy Mexico City, one of the largest U.S. diplomatic missions in the world, and led her team in crafting messages for one of the United States’ most important bilateral partnerships.

Previous assignments include working as the Director of the Media Hub of the Americas for Latin American and Caribbean media based in South Florida. She fostered new partnerships with the academic community, civil society, and private sector in Miami and throughout the Americas to advance policy outreach for senior U.S. officials.

Melissa has also worked as Press Attaché at U.S. Embassy San Jose; Policy Officer for Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America with the Bureau of International Information Programs in Washington D.C.; Consular Officer at U.S. Embassy Mexico City and Deputy Public Affairs Officer at U.S. Embassy Montevideo.

In 2002, Melissa received a Master’s degree from Columbia University’s School of International Public Affairs with a concentration in Media and Communications. Melissa is the recipient of the Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Graduate Fellowship and National Security Exchange Program International Boren Graduate Fellowship. She earned a Bachelor of Arts from New Mexico State University in 1999. Melissa has received the Department’s Superior, Meritorious, and Franklin Honor Awards during her tenure in the Foreign Service. Born and raised in New Mexico, Melissa is fluent in Spanish and has studied Portuguese and Italian.

For more information on U.S. State Department programs or to inquire about office hours, please contact Melissa at martinezme@state.gov or follow her on Facebook at www.facebook/midwest.


Previous Diplomats in Residence at UIC

Careers with the State Department