Faculty Spotlight Series: Chris Melde

October 29, 2019

Dr. Chris Melde is a Professor, Director of Graduate Studies, and Associate Director in the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University. Chris’ research interests focus on youth violence issues, especially as they relate to prevention and intervention programming, street gangs, and youth perceptions of victimization risk.

Chris Melde grew up in the small town of Lansing, Iowa – population 999, and graduated from Kee High School in a class of 40 students. Lansing is located nearly as far Northeast in Iowa as one can go. The Mississippi River was a five-minute walk from the house Chris grew up in where he could look across the river at Wisconsin. Chris is the middle child of seven (two older brothers, one older sister, two younger brothers, and one younger sister). Growing up in Lansing, Chris wasn’t exposed to serious violence and gangs. Chris says it was precisely for this reason that his interest in youth violence and street gangs developed, because it was difficult for him to understand how youth regularly persevere through such adversity, while others fall victim to these circumstances.

After graduating high school in 1997, Chris attended Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa. During his undergraduate years, Chris was a member of the Loras College Duhawk baseball team, held internships with the Alien Fugitive Division of the U.S. National Central Bureau Interpol in Washington, DC, the Dubuque County, Iowa Prosecutor’s Office, and as a Naturalist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. After graduation, Chris stayed at Loras College for a year as an Assistant Baseball Coach where he assisted with hitting and infielders. Chris would then go on to receive his PhD from the University of Missouri, St. Louis.

Chris Melde joined the School of Criminal Justice as an Assistant Professor in 2007 and was recently promoted to Full Professor in 2019.

Outside of academia, Chris enjoys spending time with his wife and kids and all things sports. Chris coaches youth baseball, basketball, flag football, and soccer. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Okemos Baseball Club. He is a season ticket holder for MSU Football and Men’s Basketball; enjoys cheering for the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Cubs; and spends as much time as he can out on the golf course.