TheBridge profile: Melissa Medina
Name: Melissa Medina
Current city: Washington, DC
Current job: Director of Congressional Affairs, Congressional App Challenge
Past job: Legislative Aide, Rep. Ed Royce (CA-39)
Q. Favorite spot for a coffee meeting : Fun Fact: I don't drink coffee 😱. Instead, I meet up for ice cream (Dolci Gelati Cafe) or milkshakes (Good Stuff Eatery & Ted's Bulletin)
Q. Describe one way how a skill you learned in a previous job helped you in your new job: As a former certified lifeguard, I was trained to problem solve quickly and efficiently because in certain cases it could mean the difference between life and death.
From the House of Representatives to the Congressional App Challenge, problem solving remains critical. I joke that the App Challenge is a non-profit start-up, and as each day brings new challenges as we look to grow and scale, problem solving equips me to do what it takes to get the job done.
Q. Job advice in three words? Question (the) Status Quo
Q. How are you (or your company, org, nonprofit) currently bridging the gap between politics and tech? We are turning the House of Representatives into the House of Code (seriously).
The Congressional App Challenge is an initiative to inspire students to pursue STEM and CS education. We work with Members of Congress to host app competitions in their districts and provide K-12 students coding opportunities across the United States. In our third year, we have a bipartisan group of 175 Members of Congress from 43 states! As we connect today's Congress with tomorrow coders, we hope to demonstrate that tech is everywhere - no matter which state or city you are from.
Q. Best advice you’ve received?
Be thankful and share your gratitude. Growing up, I was always taught to think about the future. Everyone was obsessed with asking "What's your 5 or 10 year plan?" The DC culture is no different.
In thinking about the future, people forget to be grateful for what they have. Don't forget to thank the people who have supported you and helped you get to where you are today. For me, I've created a "What I am thankful for album" and I challenge you to find your own way to give thanks :).
Q. Quote you live by? Aim to wake up each day living your dream.
Q. Startup to watch? ReThink created by Trisha Prabhu, who won the 2015 Congressional App Challenge in Rep. Bill Foster's district. She later went on to pitch on Shark Tank and got $100K in funding for her app!