Melissa Gurzenda

Melissa Gurzenda '21


Empowering others to help them identify their purpose as confident passionate leaders

On campus and off, Melissa Gurzenda ’21, a Team and Project Management and Management: Leadership and Innovation double major, is known for her efforts to empower others. In her freshman year at Bryant, she spoke at the University’s inaugural TEDx event and launched her own business, Identified Grace, to "influence, motivate, and mentor individuals of all ages,” and to help them identify their purpose as confident passionate leaders.

She has also been named a Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact. A yearlong program, the fellowship provides students devoted to helping others with training and resources that nurture their talents and passions and help them develop strategies for social change. Students selected for the fellowship are leaders on their campuses who are committed to finding solutions for local, national, and international challenges.

“I am incredibly honored and humbled to represent Bryant University in this program,” says Gurzenda.  “Having the opportunity to network with like-minded students from diverse demographics will allow me to explore new areas of leadership and service, which I can then bring back to my own community.”

As a sophomore, she was Lead Organizer for the 2019 Bryant University Northeast Entrepreneurship Conference (BUNEEC). A student-run event sponsored by Bryant’s chapter of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs' Organization, BUNEEC encourages students of all majors to embrace the entrepreneurial spirit and make an impact.

In February 2020, as President of Bryant’s Community Activism Leadership Organization, which promotes sustainability, diversity, and service, Gurzenda organized the group’s first conference under the banner “A better you is a better world.” The conference included a keynote address by Andrew Shue of Do Something and Cafe Media, interactive activities promoting diversity and inclusion, a sustainability panel, and a socially responsible pop-up shop. 

“We don’t fully know ourselves until we’ve worked with other outstanding people and communities, and picked up new skills for our personal and professional growth,” she says. “Those experiences help give us a better understanding of our purpose and the impact we can have on society.”

Real World Experience


President, Community Activism Leadership Organization
• Worked toward increasing team involvement and experiences, enhancing project development, expanding marketing materials, attentive member retainment, and more in terms of general member satisfaction and meeting productivity.

Executive Director, Bryant University Northeast Entrepreneurship Conference
• Negotiated speaker rates
• Conducted and organized contracts
• Curated marketing and logistical plans
• Allocated opportunities for students from Boys and Girls Clubs to attend the conference, Invited outstanding college students and business professionals to attend the conference
• Managed thousands of dollars while planning this conference, locking in Mitch Lowe and LaVonna Roth as keynote speakers

Speaker, TedX Bryant University
• Joined several business professionals and one additional student during the TEDx series focused on Innovation in 2018
• In her talk, "The Simplistic Depth of Innovation," Gurzenda redefined innovation using her own personal story.

Honor Societies

Omicron Delta Kappa
• Selected "as an outstanding member of the Bryant community through involvement with the ODK Five Phases of College Life: scholarship, athletics, speech/mass media/journalism, creative arts, and service/campus government.


MyPath Mentor
• Assisted students with major and career decisions.
• Advised and mentored exploratory and undeclared/undecided students in making decisions about their major/concentration/minor.
• Ran programs, panels, presentations and networking events throughout the academic year.

A Connected Community

Bryant's purposeful student life delivers co-curricular immersion with an inspiring, collegial community. Students forge deep connections that last a lifetime.

Hannah Sheldon headshot
Hannah Sheldon '20

Seeing the world more clearly is important to a student who believes there often is more than meets the eye.

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Kirsten Hokeness, Ph.D.

Bryant's science students have "the distinctive experience of very small classes and one-on-one-opportunities to do research with faculty."

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Joshua Velez '17

A major in finance complemented with a minor in legal studies prepared this accomplished student for a career in the commercial real estate industry.