Melanie Wursta leads the department, teaches Early Childhood Education courses and supervises interns in their capstone course. A faculty member since 1987, Ms. Wursta has also administered more than $3 million in federal grants through the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Program. The most recent grants are Project REACH, Project Set Sail, and Project FLAGSHIP; through grants and other ventures, she has developed new programs in early childhood education, director credential, paraprofessional/special education, early childhood education/early intervention, and Montessori training. Ms. Wursta assisted in securing funding for the LCCC Fowler Education Center (more than $2 million) and Binney and Smith grants and started many initiatives at the college including Super Saturday Seminar, Teacher Education Student Association, Week of the Young Child, and the Teacher Education Scholarship Fund. She earned the following awards over the years from LCCC: Dedicated Service Award for Student Faculty Advisory, President’s Convocation of the Year Award, Faculty Excellence of the Year Award, George Elison Faculty of the Year Award, Board of Trustee Award, Thumbs up Award, Faculty Member of the Year Award, and Club Advisor of the Year Award. Ms. Wursta also was awarded the Association of Community College Regional Faculty Member Award, the NISOD Award of Excellence, the Leadership Award for Relay for Life for the American Cancer Society and was nominated for Who's Who Among American Teachers and Lehigh Valley Women of the Year Award. Ms. Wursta is a member of the PA Model Statewide Program-to-Program Articulation committee in ECE and is a peer reviewer for NAEYC’s Early Childhood Associate Degree Accreditation. She has served the community through Headstart of the Lehigh Valley Board; PA Pathways Leadership Council; Board of Directors, Lehigh Valley Child Care, Inc.; Lehigh Valley Professional Planning Committee; Allentown Art Museum Education Board; Allentown School District Steering Committee; United Way/Launching One Voice and belongs to ACCESS, NACCTEP, PA Academy for the Profession of Teaching Alliance, Alliance for Early Childhood Preparation and LANAEYC for which she is a past president. For ten years prior to becoming a faculty member, she was the director of the LCCC campus Early Learning Center. Ms. Wursta has presented at numerous local and national conferences including NACCTEP, PRETESOL, League of Innovation, Temple University Faculty Conference on Teaching Excellence, and PA Early Childhood Summit. Current areas of interest include the environment as the third teacher, social media, the Fowler Model, and the Reggio approach. She has published an article about digital technology in the Community College Journal of Research and Practice.