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Melissa Monday '04

Melissa Monday, Ph.D. graduated from the University of San Diego in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. After graduation, Melissa continued through graduate school and finished with a Dual Ph.D. in Clinical and Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Alliant International University here in San Diego. Stemming from her education in psychology combined with a passion for entrepreneurism, Melissa has now become the co-founder and lead strategist at M.B. Strategic (, a rapidly growing website development and online marketing firm here in San Diego.

What have you been up to since graduating?
Since graduating from USD, I have also received a Dual Clinical and Industrial/Organizational Psychology Ph.D. and have worked for multiple mental health settings including Children’s Hospital, Tri-City Medical Center and Palomar Pomerado Medical Center as part of my training.

In addition to the experience I’ve gained in the mental health field, I was also fortunate enough to work for a San Diego based company where I was a contributing author of the widely popular book Emotional Intelligence 2.0 and helped to design emotional intelligence assessments used by many large corporations. In the back of my mind, I always had a feeling that I wanted to be involved with startup companies and entrepreneurism; the “itch” just never really went away.

Shortly after receiving my doctorate, I began work with both a software startup company and a respected non-profit organization in women’s health where I served as Director of Development. All of these experiences led up to my co-founding a website design, development and online marketing (SEO) firm called M.B. Strategic based here in San Diego. We are growing rapidly and really developing our niche in the industry. Our company helps to create specialized and handpicked packages that combine modern website design and advanced search engine optimization (SEO) to help small and mid-sized businesses grow online.

What is your fondest memory of USD?
Some of my favorite memories of USD took place at the reflection pool in the back of the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice. I spent many hours back there either pondering some of the big ideas of life, reading or watching the sunset. It was the special place on campus that allowed me to step out of the hustle and bustle and really sit back to enjoy some big picture thoughts.

What is your favorite place on campus, why?
Other than the reflection pool, one of my other favorite places on campus has to be the Copley Library. I can’t even count how many hours I spent in that library and as grueling as some of them were, it became one of my most comfortable places. I would bring in my bag of snacks, ipod and books and settle in for hours at a time. I guess for any overachieving student the library is your home away from home, and Copley was definitely my second home!

Who was your favorite USD professor or class?
Two of my favorite classes at USD were an advanced philosophy class and a class called “Big Books.” They really forced me to stretch and push myself in ways that I had never done before. I had to dive deep into my mind to think about philosophical questions, grasp classics like Brothers Karamazov and Moby Dick and write papers in the most unintuitive way for any student. They were both very challenging classes, but definitely the most rewarding as well and I admired both professors tremendously.

How have you remained involved with USD since graduating?
Since graduating, I have remained in contact with some of the classmates and faculty members I was closest with. I would also love to one day have an opportunity to come back to USD and teach some courses. It would be an honor to give back what many of my professors had given me in terms of motivation, challenge and the knowledge to do great things after graduation.

If you could offer a current USD student advice, what would it be?
If I were to give any advice it would be to really allow yourself to think outside of the box in terms of what you want your career to be. I always felt like my choices were limited because of what I chose to study in school. I’ve chosen to take a path that most of my fellow classmates in Psychology would not have done. I believe that there are so many careers and opportunities out there that we don’t see while we are in school and our degrees really equip us to do so much more. On the surface it may seem like my degrees have gone to waste, but in fact I feel more than ever that they have empowered me with the tools that I need every day in growing a business and being a leader.

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