CIS Board Member Highlight: Dr. Michelle Schmidt
CIS of Eastern PA’s new board chair, Dr. Michelle Schmidt, joined the Board of Directors in January 2019 after serving on the Program Committee for four years. As a Professor of Psychology at Moravian University, Michelle has focused much of her training and research on risk and human resilience in the face of challenges. As a child in a low-income family with an undereducated, single mother, she has a personal affinity for education and built inner resilience from a loving family and personal drive. These factors led her to want to get involved with CIS and further its mission to keep kids in school and help them succeed in life.
Michelle first learned of CIS of Eastern PA while teaching a seminar on applied developmental psychology at Moravian University. She wanted to find local non-profit partners to discuss their work with her students. She contacted CIS of Eastern PA President and CEO Tim Mulligan, who agreed to share the mission and work of the organization. His presentation not only opened her students’ eyes, it immediately interested her in getting involved.
Michelle stepped into her new role as chair of CIS of Eastern PA’s Board of Directors on January 1, 2023. As chair, she will meet regularly with the organization’s leadership team, set the agenda, and lead board meetings with the aim of providing mission-driven leadership and strategic governance. Michelle will continue to chair the Program Committee, sits on the Finance Committee, and participate on the Strategic Planning Committee with other members of the board, CIS leadership and select staff, and an alumna.
Though she has much to be proud of as a board member, Michelle is most proud of the organization’s expansion from Northampton and Lehigh Counties into Berks County in 2020, expanding CIS’ ability to make a positive difference in the lives of more children and youth. She is also proud of the organization’s ability to adapt during the pandemic in order to meet the needs of not just students, but also their families in new and different ways.
“We are continually asking how we can serve more students who need our services while diving deeper with the students we already serve,” said Michelle. “We are an all-hands-on-deck kind of organization, with people at all layers of the organization working hard to make things happen.”
In the upcoming year, Michelle is excited to celebrate the organization’s 40th anniversary and to visit some participating schools to see the CIS model at work. In her free time, Michelle enjoys spending time caring for her gardens and working in her yard. Indoors, she loves to care for her impressive collection of 60 exotic orchids. She also enjoys cooking and baking, whether using an old family recipe, an online discovery, or a personal creation.