Melissa Tolentino (she/her) is a public affairs professional with over a decade of experience managing communications portfolios and leading digital communications initiatives for cultural and educational programs in the public and private sectors. Currently, she leads communications for the government affairs arm of Hitachi, Ltd., supporting the company’s efforts to contribute to the digitalization of U.S. society and infrastructure at both the federal and state levels. Before joining Hitachi, she oversaw worldwide communications for the Fulbright Program, the United States’ flagship international exchange program, in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. In this role, she primarily directed the program’s digital communications efforts, including social media, online campaigns, website management, and branding. She began her career coordinating and eventually directing strategic outreach efforts for the Japan-America Society of Washington DC, a nonprofit organization promoting the U.S.-Japan relationship in the cultural, educational, and business sectors in the National Capital Region.

Melissa holds a Master’s degree in international culture and communications from Waseda University in Tokyo and Bachelor’s degrees in Journalism & Mass Communications and Asian Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her academic research has always focused on representations of marginalized communities in news media, television programming, and pop culture. She is also a published author and poet.

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