Melissa Draganac-Hawk (Pennsylvania), a first-generation American of deaf immigrant Peruvian parents, received a master’s degree in Linguistics and two bachelor’s degrees in Theater Production & Performance and American Sign Language from Gallaudet University. Currently, she is the Principal of Early Childhood Education at the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf and an adjunct professor of American Sign Language at the University of Pennsylvania.
Involved in the deaf community, Melissa was the president of the National Council of Hispano Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and was the Executive Director of Deaf Women United. Melissa has been involved with the NAD throughout her life in various capacities: as a youth, she participated in the Junior NAD and the Youth Leadership Camp, and as an adult she directed the Miss Deaf America Finals in 2002 and 2008. She has been an NAD member since 1988, focusing on issues affecting youth and diversity. In her free time, she enjoys being with her husband, Sam, and son, Etzio.