Dr. Meléndez is Assistant Professor of Planning for Engaging Diverse Communities at the University of Oregon’s School of Planning, Public Policy, and Management.

Dr. Meléndez’ personal identity and experiences as an immigrant—the fears and hesitations around engaging in civic activities, the challenges of learning a new language, and the role of formal education in teaching him about formal modes of participation—were central to his own development. His work is also influenced by his years of working with the Latino LGBTQ community, building the capacity of organizations and leaders to help improve their access to resources and voice. Thus, Dr. Meléndez’ research centers on the design of participatory and decision-making processes, and how these processes can be redesigned to include historically underrepresented voices and foster meaningful decision making that results in more equitable outcomes.