As one of the youngest psychology PhDs in the country, it seemed inevitable that Melissa Card would become one of the youngest heads of departments in the country.
The 35 year old clinical psychologist’s star continued to rise when she was recently appointed as the Head of Psychology at the University of Johannesburg.
Born and raised in East London in the Eastern Cape, Melissa first made headlines in 2016 when she completed her Clinical Psychology PhD at the age of 31.
In that same year, she was received her faculties ‘Teaching Excellence Award’, which basically means that she is really good at her job.
In fact, she is so good at her job, that in the following year of 2017, she was awarded the University’s ‘Vice Chancellor’s Teaching Award’.
Last year, she was again in the headlines when the Mail and Guardian included her on its prestigious list of top 200 young South Africans.
Melissa began working as a lecturer for the university in 2011, after working for 2 years as a clinical psychologist in the psychiatric ward at Helen Joseph Hospital.
As a lecturer, she teaches developmental psychology, abnormal psychology & psychodynamic theories.
Her academic research focuses on Psychodynamic therapy process, public mental health and psychopathology.
Besides teaching, Melissa has her own highly successful psychology practise that she has been running for the past ten years.
Melissa’s students describe as tough but fair; and when they speak to her, they find someone that is kind, sweet and willing to listen.
When her students are asked to evaluate her, they generally describe her as “brilliant”, “witty” “strict”, “knowledgeable”, ‘passionate’, “ready to go the extra mile” and inspiring.
Melissa feels that being a teacher should not be about having complete control over everything in the classroom but allowing everyone’s voices to be heard.
She says that it is often the case that their voices contribute to the learning process and they help her develop her curriculum through their questions and opinions.
She believes that the only way to strive for excellence is when everyone’s voices are heard.