Alumni Spotlight: Amelinda Melanson

Post Oak eighth grade class of 2001

From the October 27, 2011 edition of The Weekly Post

Photo submitted by Amelinda Melanson

I would say my life has changed a lot in the last year. But the story really starts further back than that. When I left The Post Oak School in 2001, I followed in my sister's (Caroline Sharp) footsteps. My parents never restricted my high school decision, but I never questioned where I would go. Some would say it was the easy decision, the decision that avoided making a decision. So I went to Bellaire High School and worked very hard, made my family proud, and graduated in the top 10% of my class. The academic preparation I received from The Post Oak School made it possible for me to excel in my AP classes. I was happy, I felt like I had succeeded at high school. From there I was automatically admitted to any public Texas university and applied to the University of Texas and Texas A&M University. I really enjoyed the "green" spacey campus of A&M and voila ... decision made! As to my course of study, I was good at science and I loved doing math, so engineering seemed to be the obvious fit. I worked hard for another four years, graduating cum laude as a mechanical engineer. Throughout school (both high school and college) I did what a good student is supposed to do: study hard, participate in extracurricular activities, do volunteer work, get summer jobs, etc. I "fit the mold" well, and I succeeded. I got my first choice job right out of college and started working for Frito-Lay in Dallas in August 2009 (after enjoying a summer in Europe!) as a Frito-Lay Research & Development Packaging Engineer. Sounded like a cool title to me. Again, I felt successful. My family was proud of me, and I felt happy. It took me a while to realize that all of this hard work and decision-avoiding had gotten me somewhere in my life that "should" be perfect – but slowly I realized I wasn't happy.

Early in 2011 I left my job with Frito-Lay and moved to Fergus Falls, a small town in Minnesota. Now, that was a decision! It wasn't expected, it wasn't calculated, and it wasn't "normal" by any sense of the word. But it has made me very happy. After growing up in one of the largest cities in the country, I found happiness in a tiny farming town as a project manager at a window manufacturing company. It was a shock for me when I realized that all my "success" wasn't exactly what I wanted after all. I believe that at 24, the ability to make such a decision and leave my comfort zone was made possible by my early Montessori education.

The Post Oak School prepares students in a way traditional schools simply do not have the capacity to do. Post Oak allows students to stretch the limits of traditional education and shape their own minds. I was allowed to excel in math at an early age and no teacher considered telling me "no" when I wanted to learn something new. I learned how to understand basic concepts and principles in a tangible form. These education methods simplified math and writing in my mind and not only helped me learn them then, but are helping me pass that knowledge on now. I have the privilege of working with several elementary age children and I find that bringing back the Montessori methods helps me explain things in a way they understand. I have a better spatial reasoning and sense of "the whole" than many of my peers had throughout high school and college. I know now that Montessori education has helped me excel at managing my time, managing complex projects with many tasks, and work in teams of peers with a variety of skill sets.

I am very thankful for the education and independence that Post Oak provided for me. I am confident that I will benefit from that education for the rest of my life.

From the March 26, 2010 edition of The Weekly POst

L-R: sisters and Post Oak Alumnae Caroline Sharp, Bethany Sharp, and Amelinda Melanson

Let me introduce myself. My name is Amelinda Melanson (daughter of Christianne, sister to Caroline and Bethany Sharp) and I graduated from Post Oak in 2001. I went to Bellaire High School and graduated 2005, then went to Texas A&M University and graduated in 2009. I majored in mechanical engineering, and while in school I worked at Texas Steel Conversion (owned by Brian Binau - Kate's father), Halliburton, and Frito Lay as summer internships. I also studied environmental engineering in Spain during Summer 2007.

In school I was involved in The Big Event ( where I really enjoyed helping coordinate such a large community service day. I was an officer in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (A&M student chapter) where we helped bring speakers of many industries to speak to the students about the many opportunities available to them. I enjoy traveling, and spent all my summer job savings on trips during school and after graduation (Ireland, Egypt, Germany, Spain, Italy, England, Greece, & Croatia). I'm very glad I spent the time and money traveling when I did because now I have no vacation time to go anywhere! I now spend my free time reading and hanging out with friends. At work I am a mechanical engineer for the packaging team. I help work on projects to change the packaging we have and work with vendors to develop new equipment. I spend many weeks in Minnesota where it stays below freezing for several months in a row!

Anyway, I have no idea what you would want to know all this silly information for but my mom said you guys ask for updates, so there you go!

I hope everything is going well and that the school is still as awesome as I remember it. If I wasn't tied to my job in Plano, I wish I could send my future kids to Post Oak.

It was such a wonderful experience.


P.S. If I had to pick one thing, the once-a-week community service that the middle school does was the most impactful part of my POS experience.

In Cairo, Egypt: Amelinda Melanson with Lauren Fondren (another alumna) making a pose from the high-ropes course at the Retreat at Artesian Lakes (formerly called Chain-O-Lakes).

Valencia, Spain: Amelinda on the ledge of a Spanish bell tower.

Santorini, Greece: Amelinda on a four-wheeler driving along the cliff coast of the island.