[email protected]: MELISSA

First, I started working for Convo
as their Community Curator because Convo was familiar
with my media background. At the time, I was also working for DPAN as their news anchor/reporter for TruBiz and DTVNews. Convo asked if I had ever thought about
hosting my own show. At first I was unsure about that idea but deep inside,
I always knew I wanted to have one but I was afraid to make it a reality. I was fearful but Convo believed in me and
that made me decide to go for it! Thankfully, Convo is a big believer in the Deaf Ecosystem, so MELMIRA was made possible by the Deaf Ecosystem between DPAN and Convo. This show allows me to stay true to my heart
and to the community. Having interactions with people, real conversations, sharing their stories, and using my platform to bring awareness to different issues and dialogues that I feel our community needs more of. I’ve always believed that with a journey, you must have room for growth and new challenges. So for me, it made sense to have my own show
as my next challenge! My name is Melissa Elmira-Yingst and I’m the host
of the show, “MELMIRA.” I was born into a deaf family but I did not go to a deaf school — I went to a mainstreamed school, University High School, in Orange County, California. They have a large deaf program there. My deaf identity was not fully realized or accepted until I went to Gallaudet University (GU). I graduated with a Bachelors in Psychology. The range of my career was mostly working as a social worker, counseling, and working with people. I got my Masters in Social Work at Arizona State University (ASU). Currently, I work for Convo as their Outreach Strategist. I also have the opportunity to do my show, MELMIRA, with the thanks to Convo’s and DPAN’s sponsorships. Their sponsorships work differently, DPAN supports
me with MELMIRA’s accessibility needs like captioning and voice overs while
Convo supports my time and the opportunity to dive in my work with MELMIRA. My first media experience happened
while I was a GU student, I was a host on the “What’s Up Gallaudet?” —
a news show on campus. My career since then had been super involved with the community, people, discussions, counseling, as well as psychology — in my field. I absolutely loved it but my passion for media appeared again when I was living in Arizona and an opportunity showed up with
Deaf and Hearing Network (DHN). I became a part of their team because
they knew of my media background at GU. From there, I realized this was my true passion — media and the community! My everyday schedule is not routine! I start work at 6am most days, I work for
Convo in the mornings, which includes stuff like outreach,
community work, and media. After that, I work for DPAN. MELMIRA topics usually depend
on the events that happened that week. I release new episodes every Thursday and I occasionally post reflection videos where I share my candid thoughts about what’s going on in the community or something that happened during a previous episode that I learned from. I prefer to set up a call to have a warm up chat
before we start the interview, that way I can figure out a good frame for their story. Often people will contact me to do a story on them,
I’m always open to new story ideas. I find time to chat with them through meetings. When deaf youth watch my videos, and they want to do something like it, I always tell them to do it! Right now, they have so many resources, it’s incredible. I’m still catching up with what’s new
in social media, and they have incredible knowledge
in technology and media. I tell them to do it! Start with personal videos, you never know
what kind of audience you will draw. With hearing people, they have thousands of options — it’s basically Netflix for them and they can choose whatever to watch. I want the deaf community to have the same, have different channels and shows to choose from. So, we always need more of YOU to create content! I know there are many more out there and
I’m not the only one. I look forward to seeing more of that in our community! I’ve gone to media conferences or events and have wanted to meet people — but they’re all hearing. I wish we had more mentors and more opportunities to connect with them. On Instagram and Facebook, there are
many hearing women that I look up to, their comments and their show I truly admire… but they’re hearing! I wish I could connect with them. Sometimes I email or send them a message and ask them to caption their shows or their Instagram stories because I want to learn from them. Especially from those who are Latinx! I feel that we need each other to thrive, to succeed, and to learn from each other. It’s impossible for a group of women
to not learn from each other. I always say there’s magic when women come together, by celebrating each other, lifting each other up, recognizing each other’s strengths, and learning — this only makes us more successful. I want more of this more in my media career.

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