The Melissa Pellegrin Memorial Scholarship History

You can view a list of all winners of the Melissa Pellegrin Memorial Scholarship on our Scholarships Awarded page.

The Melissa Pellegrin Memorial Scholarship Fund was founded in 1997 by the Orlando chapter of the STC to honor and preserve the memory and generous spirit of a valued friend and professional colleague, Melissa Pellegrin. She was a 1994 graduate of the University of Central Florida and a member of the STC’s Orlando chapter. Melissa was an exceptional student who earned an Orlando chapter undergraduate scholarship. After graduation, she served on the Orlando chapter’s Education Committee.Pellegrin scholarships are prestigious scholarships sponsored by the Melissa Pellegrin Memorial Scholarship Fund and the Orlando chapter of the Society for Technical Communication (STC). These scholarships are much valued by the recipients, by the University of Central Florida’s technical writing faculty, and by members of Orlando STC. Students who receive this scholarship are particularly outstanding, outstanding not only for their academic work but also for their many other contributions and activities.

Melissa’s commitment to excellence was evident in the quality of her academic and professional work. She shared her enthusiasm in many ways, including professional presentations at STC conferences and meetings. She was employed as a technical communicator with The Resource Center, Inc., in Tampa, until her untimely death in April 1997.

To compete for these scholarships, students must complete an application, submit transcripts, and compose a letter discussing why they chose this discipline, what they consider the profession to be, and why they want to become a technical communicator. They may also discuss their need for financial aid if applicable, as well as any other factors they believe should be considered relative to their candidacy for the scholarship.

A majority of the non-student members of the Orlando STC Education Committee determines who the recipients of these scholarships will be. Recipients are presented with certificates and checks from the scholarship fund, and their names are added to a permanent plaque displayed at UCF.

To the educators, Orlando STC members, and scholarship nominees of the Melissa Pellegrin Scholarship Program:

As the parents of Melissa Pellegrin, the mention of STC Programs, the University of Central Florida, and the scholarship program renews emotions with many faces.

For the parents of a child attending college, especially as highly accredited as the University of Central Florida, they are also attending college as viewed through the eyes of the child. They experience the ups and downs, the successes and disappointments.

All emotions experienced during the four years of classes, schedules, and relocations during semester breaks, are replaced in their entirety on graduation day. The pride of parents who have followed their child through the formal education years is unsurpassed by the moment the diploma is received.

When Melissa graduated, her college connections and friendships converted from student to colleague. Her desire to give back to an institution that gave her so much was deep-seated in her thoughts and actions. Melissa highly respected Dr. Dan Jones as a professional and they had a relationship that survived time and Melissa’s untimely death.

The loss of a child is a devastating experience for a parent. It is one that we sincerely hope that no one of you experiences on the road of life that lies ahead. This, too, is one of the faces of emotions that surface in and out of our lives as we also travel the road of life.

With all of these facts behind us, today’s awarding of the scholarships in Melissa’s honor helps to fill a void that developed due to her untimely departure. We are just as proud of all the recipients of the scholarships as we are of the level of the program that honors our daughter’s name and keeps her memory vivid.

Fred and Marge Flesche
(Melissa Pellegrin’s parents)

Comments from Recipients of a Melissa Pellegrin Memorial Scholarship

“I was truly honored to be one of the earliest Melissa Pellegrin Memorial Scholarship recipients and to be included in a long line of outstanding technical communicators by the Society of Technical Communication. It was awarded at a point that validated my career choice as a technical writer.”

“Currently, my certificate hangs on my office wall adjacent to my UCF diploma in recognition of my accomplishments.”

Sharon K. Wissert
Pellegrin Scholarship 1997


“At the time I received the Pellegrin Scholarship, I was in much need of the scholarship money. I was a single mom who quit her job to finish college full time. Not only did the scholarship help with my living expenses, but the honor of being a Pellegrin Scholarship recipient assisted me in establishing great professional relationships that enabled me to further my career.”

Ann K. Vogt
Pellegrin Scholarship 1997


“Receiving the Melissa Pellegrin scholarship was both an encouragement and an honor. The fact that I was chosen to receive a scholarship bearing Melissa’s name meant a lot to me because I knew from others that she was a diligent, professional, caring person. Being recognized and honored in a tangible way for my hard work as a student encouraged me to continue with the technical writing program at UCF.”

“My current professional role is that of a part-time freelancer most recently testing K-6 mathematics software. My professional role is part-time now so that I may devote as much time as possible to my new full-time, personal role of ‘Mommy’ to my 16-month-old son.”

Michele Damron
Pellegrin Scholarship 1997

“I was truly honored to be among the first recipients of the Melissa Pelligrin scholarship. Receiving the award seemed validating, as I worked hard for my master’s in technical writing during a difficult personal period. The recognition, and yes, the money, came at a much-needed time. Also, I was acquainted with Melissa and knew what an exemplary student, and later, professional, she was. To receive an award in her name was really meaningful.”

“Even back then, I suspected I would use my master’s in a ‘non-traditional’ setting and indeed have spent the last six years doing administrative work at UCF. For several years when I taught writing courses and directed an advising office, I enjoyed introducing many students to technical writing. In my current position, I spend most of my time writing, primarily policies and procedures. My colleagues have come to appreciate the skill set a technical writer can bring to administration, and I’ve been able to connect them with technical writing students to work on various campus projects. Currently, I’m at work on a doctorate in Higher Education Administration, where I spend lots of time … writing.”

Melanie Woods
Assistant to the Vice Provost, Regional Campuses
University of Central Florida
Pellegrin Scholarship 1997

“The Pellegrin scholarship meant a lot to me. It was not only helpful towards funding my education, for which I am extremely grateful, it was also meaningful to me because it came from STC. I have always valued my membership and participation in STC, and to be recognized by such a group was both flattering and encouraging. I will never forget the charity and recognition bestowed upon me by the Pellegrin family and the members of the STC Orlando chapter.”

“Currently, I work in Maitland as a Technical Editor II with PBS&J, an engineering and planning firm, in its aviation division. My husband and I plan to adopt a baby from Russia this summer, at which time my company has agreed to let me work part-time from home. As a side note, I really miss school, and would LOVE to go back some day.”

Kelli (Cooper) Pharo
Technical Editor II
Pellegrin Scholarship 1998

“For me, winning the Melissa Pellegrin scholarship was a validation that I had chosen the right path. After receiving my bachelor’s degree in creative writing and having spent a lifetime telling myself I was not technical in the least, I was more than a little apprehensive about pursuing a graduate degree in technical writing. During my first year in the program, though, I found myself thoroughly interested in the subject matter and was excelling in my courses; my confidence in my ability to become an effective technical communicator grew, and receiving the award was a much-needed confirmation that others had that same confidence in me. The knowledge and support I received at UCF, the Melissa Pellegrin scholarship -all of it helped turn me into the person who now, 6 years later, is excelling at a position in FedEx’s information technology division. In my job there are not a lot of people with non-computer science degrees, and I’m very appreciative of all that it took to build my confidence to the point that I feel I am on par with the techies :)”

Anna Gaal
Senior Business Application Analyst
FedEx Corporate Services
Pellegrin Scholarship 1998

“… being presented with such an award that holds so much esteem was one of my most distinguished academic accomplishments. As I move forward in my career, I can always present the fact that I was the recipient of a well-respected academic accolade that venerates and congratulates students with talent, focus, and a commitment to their craft. I am privileged to have been one of these fine recipients and hope that in the years to come, future students with that marked distinction of brilliant talent, intrepid focus, and relentless commitment to the art of writing will always be acknowledged through the Melissa Pellegrin Scholarship Fund.”

Mireille Shebbein
Technical Writer
The Hartford Group Benefits
Pellegrin Scholarship 2000

“I was honored to receive the Melissa Pellegrin graduate scholarship in 2000. This scholarship helped me through a particularly rough time as I was at the time working two part-time jobs and finishing two degrees from UCF. The funds provided by the Pellegrin scholarship allowed me to purchase books and supplies necessary for my classes, and allowed me to take some time away from work to complete my thesis. I am very grateful to Melissa’s parents for their generosity, to the STC Education Committee for selecting me from among many deserving students, and to UCF’s Technical Writing faculty for nominating me for this award.”

Rudy McDaniel
Computer Specialist, UCF, and T7T Doctoral Student
Pellegrin Scholarship 2000

“Throughout high school, and even the first two years of college, I often struggled with my courses and certainly did not receive any awards or scholarships. However, the semester I began my technical writing courses at the University of Central Florida, I felt a new willingness and excitement to learn and develop my writing and communication skills. This newly found interest in my coursework was also reflected in my grades, helping me to realize that this field might one day become a career where I could be successful and enjoy my tasks.”

“Receiving the Melissa Pellegrin Scholarship at that point in my life was perfect because it motivated me to grow and develop my skills in the professional world, despite the obstacles. It was also wonderful to share the news with my parents and friends who saw me struggle with paying for school and the frustration with earlier classes. Knowing that I was selected by a panel of professionals provided me with confidence and pride in my work as well as anticipation for what the future may hold.”

“This is a very prestigious award at UCF. I am honored to be a recipient of this award and hope that it continues to inspire students to see what the technical communication field has to offer.”

Christina Payne
Technical Writer
(Marketing writing for information technology (IT) products)
Lockheed Martin
Enterprise Information Systems
Orlando, Florida
Pellegrin Scholarship 2001

“After a last-minute change of heart, I veered away from … English Literature and instead enrolled in the technical writing graduate program at UCF. I had no tech writing experience, and I had only ever used a computer to write my English essays. So from the start, I always felt that I had to work really hard just to try to ‘catch up’ to the other students and keep pace. Two students who especially influenced me while I was in the program were Anna Gaal and Rudy McDaniel, both of whom are Pellegrin scholarship winners. They set a very high standard for their fellow students, and I learned a lot from just being around them and seeing the work they produced. When I found out that I had been awarded the Melissa Pellegin scholarship, I was at first humbled to be included such company. But at the same time, that was the moment when I first looked back and realized how far I’d come. And that was the moment when I first began to really think of myself as a technical writer. So the scholarship has helped me immensely?it signaled to me that I was on the right track and gave me the confidence I needed to keep working and learning.”

Jason Nichols
Technical Writer
Pellegrin Scholarship 2001

“While the Melissa Pellegrin Scholarship helped me pay for summer tuition, the true value in receiving this award runs much deeper -it is representative of quality and excellence in technical writing, and I am honored to have received it. As many UCF students know, Melissa embodied every positive characteristic a technical writer could aspire to have. In her honor, I will strive to carry on this legacy of excellence.”

Bonnie Spivey
Editor/Technical Writer
Walt Disney World
Information Technology – IT Documentation Team
Pellegrin Scholarship 2003

“When I received the Melissa Pellegrin scholarship I found it motivating to be recognized within my field. This award symbolizes excellence in technical communication, and it offers assurance to prospective employers that I am capable of high-quality work. But this award is special because it is a memorial for Melissa Pellegrin, a young technical communicator much like those of us who have received the award. The recipients of the award are chosen by local professionals, many of whom knew Melissa, so they are highly selective. I am honored to have received the award.”

Cindy Hauptner
Future Doctoral Program Candidate
Pellegrin Scholarship 2003

“The Melissa Pellegrin Memorial Scholarship is more than simply a certificate and check. It is a symbol of excellence in honor of an excellent technical communicator. I am proud to be one of the few recipients of this scholarship.”

Bob Stultz
Future Law School Candidate
Pellegrin Scholarship 2003

“It’s a great honor to receive the award and to be able to carry on Melissa’s tradition. I know that only very talented students are selected, and I am proud to be considered one of their number.”

Melanie Trickey
Graduating Senior
Pellegrin Scholarship 2004

I feel honored to receive this prestigious scholarship. To be selected by professionals in the field and receive recognition for my hard work, inspires me and gives me confidence in my abilities. It motivates me to push myself to excel so I can continue the tradition of excellence set by Melissa Pellegrin.

Peggy Bivins
Pellegrin Scholarship 2005

It is an honor to be among the recipients of such a special award. The Melissa Pellegrin Scholarship is a testament to the close bond that exists between Orlando-STC and the University of Central Florida. This scholarship will help me get to my technical writing summer internship at Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp in Boulder, Colorado.

Alex Garcia
Pellegrin Scholarship 2005

For me, STC Orlando helped bridge the gap between school and work. As a graduate student without a background in technical writing, I gained practical experience from the workshops, lectures, job fairs, and other services that STC provided. The culmination of this professional, academic, and personal support was being awarded the Melissa Pellegrin Scholarship. The scholarship allowed me to focus on career and academic development. Receiving this honor made me feel for the first time like I was a member of the technical writing community – a society in which one’s contributions are embraced, amplified, and celebrated.

Carrie Avery Blaustein
Scientific Editor
University of Florida
Pellegrin Scholarship 2005

This year (my junior year) of college, I have become highly immersed in the world of technical writing. Not only am I actively involved throughout the organizations, but I am also heavily promoting the major for the future students of the program. I am grateful for the opportunity to share my wisdom, and serve as an example, for many students who are unsure about the direction of their college education.

Most of all – this scholarship is recognition for my hard workout through school, work, FTC, and STC. It is acknowledgement that my contributions to all facets of technical writing do not go unnoticed. Considering the list of previous winners, it is an honor to be considered among them.

Rachel Eichen
Pellegrin Scholarship 2006

To me, the scholarship serves a dual purpose: it is a way to honor Melissa Pellegrin’s memory and a source of fuel for my future.

Jen Juneau
Pellegrin Scholarship 2006

I feel privileged and accomplished to receive the Melissa Pellegrin Scholarship for 2006. This award transcends the recognition and monetary value because I believe in the technical communication profession and am honored to be affiliated with all of the predecessors who exemplify Melissa’s caliber. I am proud to represent the STC, UCF and the Central Florida technical writing community.

Heather Stearns
Pellegrin Scholarship 2006

When I began college I wasn’t even sure what wanted to do, but once I chose technical writing, I decided to give it my best efforts. Receiving this scholarship is an honor that recognizes and validates my efforts in school. But more importantly, receiving this award encourages me to continue what I’ve begun with the hope that some day soon I can start to return the favor to the technical communication community. I am extremely thankful to receive this honor and encouragement.

Daniel Beck
Pellegrin Scholarship 2007

Since the announcement of my name as a recipient of the Melissa Pellegrin Memorial Scholarship, I have felt an even deeper amount of positive reinforcement and professional encouragement from my fellow chapter members than I did at my first STC meeting. It is no surprise to me that this organization created a scholarship program like this in honor of another fellow member whose talent and life impacted many individuals. I am honored and privileged to be a recipient of this prestigous award because I know what it means to all of the members who knew and respected Melissa. I am proud to be involved in continuing her legacy as a scholarship winner.

Ashley Carney
Pellegrin Scholarship 2007

Receiving the Melissa Pellegrin Memorial Scholarship reaffirms my success as a college student and STC’s commitment to funding capable technical communication students. The scholarship will help me as I apply to graduate schools in the near future.

My life has been filled with more up-and-downs than a pool of tidal waves. Staying focused and determined has helped me earn this scholarship. For students interested in pursuing this scholarship in the future, I recommend becoming or remaining active in STC and FTC. Find ways to contribute to these organizations because you will get more out of it than you think.

Michael Wilson
Pellegrin Scholarship 2010

I was very grateful to receive the Melissa Pellegrin Scholarship. I consider my membership in STC to be one of the activities I most enjoy. I have gained so much from the amazing members and programs provided by the Orlando Chapter. The scholarship helped me finish out my last semester at UCF and I am very grateful to be blessed by the generosity of the Orlando Chapter of the STC.

Sarah Baca
Pellegrin Scholarship 2011

It is an honor to receive the Melissa Pellegrin Scholarship. Having been involved with STC for the past two years, I have met previous recipients of the scholarship and seen how they have carved out successful careers as technical communicators. Receiving the Pellegrin scholarship inspires me to follow their footsteps.

The scholarship has helped fund my trip to the STC international conference this year, where I was able to learn greatly from technical communicators across the world. I am extremely grateful to the Orlando Chapter for making this experience possible.

Patricia Cruz
Pellegrin Scholarship 2011