University of Southern California

USC Student Affairs and Campus Life

Melia Albrecht Serves at Home and Abroad

By Madisen Keavy

"Best Buddies" Norma and Melia."Best Buddies" Norma and Melia.

Her studies have taken her to South Korea, Egypt and Turkey but Lanterman High School, just a few blocks from USC, is the place where Melia Albrecht really has fun.

That’s where she volunteers with Best Buddies, an organization that fosters one-on-one relationships with people who have intellectual and development disabilities.

“Best Buddies is my favorite. I think it’s important that you have one organization you do just for fun — one that you do because it makes you happy,” Albrecht said.

That’s just one of the many activities on this Trustee Scholar’s résumé, along with the USC Helenes, Dornsife Ambassadors, Council on International Education Exchange (CIEE) scholarship program, and Marshall’s Women’s Leadership Board.

“Exploring and talking to people is the best way to learn,” said Albrecht. “This is probably one of the best chances you are ever going to have in your life – to be surrounded by so many brilliant people who are all doing something different.”

Born in Germany, Albrecht is a junior double majoring in public relations in the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and international relations in the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences while also completing an honors multimedia program.

Last semester, she spent her spring break traveling to South Korea as one of 40 university students from around the country chosen by the CIEE.

“I spent 10 days in Seoul with a host family eating the food, meeting different people and seeing new things,” she said.

Her favorite part of the experience came when she visited the demilitarized zone, which sparked the flame to continue her travels to unlikely international destinations like Egypt.

Thanks to a Dornsife Summer Undergraduate Research Fund grant, she was able to do just that. She traveled to to Egypt and Turkey where she met and interviewed international leaders. With a dream of someday working for “National Geographic,” it’s no surprise that Albrecht’s favorite interview was with the editor and chief of CNN Turkey.

Albrecht shows no signs of slowing down. An undergraduate scholar this year with Dornsife’s Levan Institute for Humanities and Ethics, she also has internships with the Los Angeles World Affairs Council and Annenberg’s “Journeys In Film” program.

But she always makes time for Best Buddies, said her friend Melina Sutton: “Melia truly cares about each person she meets and this is easily seen in her relationship with her friend she met through Best Buddies, Norma. She could be speaking at a conference about international relations or she could be traveling the world, but she never forgets the people who have made an impact on her life.”