Melissa Essenpreis Martin awarded CHHS Alumni Achievement Award
- Wednesday, October 19th, 2022
The WKU College of Health and Human Services (CHHS) recently hosted a 20th anniversary celebration and recognized alumni for their achievements with the first annual CHHS Alumni Achievement Award.
A 2006 graduate of CHHS with a Bachelor of Science degree in Design, Merchandising, and Textiles, and a minor in Family and Consumer Sciences, Mrs. Melissa Essenpreis Martin was one of the recipients. She was a first-generation college student and was recognized as the 2006 Scholar of the College for Health & Human Services, graduating Summa Cum Laude with a 4.0.
At the close of her senior year at WKU, she was selected for a competitive national internship in Cary, NC with TC Squared, a textile and technology clothing corporation, where she gained additional skills in supply chain management, training in six sigma and lean manufacturing, apparel design and production, and experience with 3D body scanning technology and pattern extraction. Following her internship, Mrs. Martin began her career at Fruit of the Loom global headquarters in Bowling Green, KY. While at Fruit of the Loom, she worked in product development in intimate apparel and ultimately became the product manager for Russell Athletic Team Sports with an emphasis on collegiate football uniforms. Following a seven-year stint at Fruit of the Loom, she went to work for Lifeguard Press, a licensing and branding company, where she oversaw product development for their Kate Spade New York licensed products.
In 2014, Mrs. Martin was approached about the Executive Director position for Phi Upsilon Omicron National Honor Society in Family and Consumer Sciences, an organization in which she had been very involved as an undergraduate student with WKU’s Beta Delta Chapter. Having a personal connection and understanding the impact of the organization on students like herself, she transitioned her career in product development to become the National Executive Director for the Honor Society. She now supports over 100,000 members and 72 collegiate and alumni chapters across and the country and serves as the Secretary/Treasurer for the Phi Upsilon Omicron Educational Foundation which oversees Scholarships, Fellowships, and Awards for Phi U members.
In her role as Phi U Executive Director, she has broadened her understanding and network of Family and Consumer Sciences professionals and the impact of the field of FCS on individuals, families, and communities.
Martin shared, “It is such an honor to be recognized as the recipient of the first alumni achievement award for the college. As Phi U’s Executive Director, I now have the platform to aid and assist other students across the country in their pursuit of a college degree in the areas and allied fields of study in Family and Consumer Sciences. These future professionals are once like me, full of intrigue and potential, in need of resources and encouragement, and avenues to pursue leadership opportunities. I commend the work of WKU’s College of Health and Human Services to form strong partnerships with students, faculty, and staff to transform the landscape of education and the well-being of individuals, families, and communities. I am honored to be a graduate of the college and humbled by this award.”
The recipients of these awards were nominated based on the following criteria: A graduate of CHHS who has made outstanding achievement in one or more of the following areas: 1) professional accomplishments related to our CHHS mission, 2) demonstrated leadership within a workplace, organization, or professional association, 3) unique and substantial public service or community-engagement, and/or 4) career success and efforts which merit recognition and reflect positively on CHHS and Western Kentucky University.