Meet an Advisor: Melinda Hatfield Russell

Alpha Sigma Tau has been part of Melinda Hatfield Russell (Omicron 2011/Concord) for a long time. “Both my older biological sisters are also members, and when I was a senior, my mother became an alumna initiate,” she said. 

She began volunteering with Alpha Sigma Tau as a Master Facilitator for the Illuminate program, where she worked with several client chapters. She said, “I knew when I was a collegian that I wanted to be involved in the Sorority in some capacity, and with my experience, being a Master Facilitator was the first step in that process.” 

However, advising was always close to her. “Both of my older Sisters had served in advisory board positions, so I had an idea of what it entailed,” she said. “My interest in advising and Member Development naturally evolved since the Member Development Advisor oversaw Illuminate.” 

In January 2020, Melinda applied to be an advisor for the Epsilon Psi Chapter at Rowan University. She was appointed as their Member Development Advisor shortly afterward. In April 2023, when the previous Chapter Advisor stepped down, Melinda stepped up and became their Chapter Advisor. 

Due to the distance between her hometown in Florida and Epsilon Psi’s location in New Jersey, Melinda advises the chapter almost 100% remotely. She connects with officers weekly and attends Executive Committee and chapter business meetings virtually every week.

Virtual advising can bring unique challenges, but she feels prepared to handle them. “Sometimes, I have to come up with creative solutions for things, like if an urgent matter gets brought to my attention by the chapter. You need to be aware of what resources are available to you and how to best utilize them,” she explained. 

This semester, however, Melinda was able to visit campus during Epsilon Psi’s structured recruitment. “This was the first time I was able to meet with the chapter since becoming their advisor. It was so great to see the women I advise in person instead of through a screen,” she said. Her visit ranks high among her favorite memories of working with the chapter. 

Another favorite for Melinda is seeing the similarities between her collegiate experience and the collegiate experience now. She explained, “It really goes to show that sorority is timeless because even after being a member for 13 years, I see things that the chapter does that I remember my chapter doing. I can draw from my personal experiences to better assist and understand the chapter and its culture.” 

Melinda (middle) poses with her biological Sisters, Melissa Hatfield Atkinson (Gamma Mu 1992/WVU Tech) and Melanie Hatfield Justice-Church (Omicron 2001/Concord), during her Initiation.

In addition to her personal experiences, Melinda relies on Epsilon Psi’s other advisors, Sydney Monaco (Beta Delta 2017/Duquesne) and Julia Hughes (Epsilon Psi 2017/Rowan), for support. “I work with a fantastic team. We all come from very different chapter experiences, but everyone’s insight and input are always welcomed and appreciated,” she said. 

Melinda believes there’s a position for any alumnae interested in advising, even if they feel unsure. “You can find [a position] that will either match your interest or be suited to your collegiate experience,” she said. 

Additionally, there are lots of people there to help you along your advising journey. “Other CAB members, advisors from other chapters, and Headquarters Staff are always willing to help land a hand or offer advice, support, or their expertise to assist you,” she advised. 

Thank you to Melinda and all the advisors who help our collegiate women grow, learn, and improve daily!