About Me

Melissa Mae Cheater

Proudly #PSEWEB, #HighEdWeb & #WesternU

I am digital strategist & speaker, specializing in post-secondary education and social network theory.  I’ve been building & studying community longer than ER was a TV show – from helping cities rethink youth services, to working with Canada’s best minds to understand online identity, to showing universities how to reconnect.  As one of the first graduates of Western University’s Media & Public Interest program (Faculty of Information & Media Studies), I’m proud to work on campus helping to share the school that I love.

Founded in Theory & Practice

Sipping coffee with gentlemen and SSHRC funded researchers, I learned about Main Street before industry collapsed in the town where I grew up.  I helped document a century of community now archived in the National Library, founded a new non-profit serving local youth musicians, and helped the municipal government and YMCA dig into services for youth.  During my studies at Western, I worked closely with Anonequity/On the ID Trail, a SSHRC project bringing together technology, law and sociology minds from around the world to focus on identity and privacy online.  I also had the opportunity to work one-on-one with Dr. Burkell at the Faculty of Information & Media Studies, focusing on social network theory. Since 2007, I have been putting this experience and research into practice with universities and colleges across Canada, breaking new ground (featured in publications such as Maclean’s) and helping institutions negotiate the digital shift in communications.

#PSEWEB Conference & Community

Most campus communications teams have a single person dedicated to web or social media.  As obvious as it seems, mobile hasn’t even come that far.  #PSEWEB builds on the HighEdWeb Conference in the United States and asks Canada’s post-secondary education digital designers, developers and strategists to step past their day to day work and isolation, coming together as a national community of specialized professionals, meeting once a year at a grassroots peer-to-peer conference to share ideas and experience.

Additional Specifics

Honours BA specializing in Media & Public Interest
Faculty of Information & Media Studies, Western University

Current Positions:
Digital Content Manager, Western University – Communications & Public Affairs
Founder & Organizer, #PSEWEB
Instructor, Western University – Continuing Studies

Personal:

I live in London, Ontario but am originally from Corner Brook, Newfoundland.  I have been in London since my undergraduate degree at Western University and am proud to be back on campus working in communications.

I have a maltese x shih tzu named Turk Turkleton, after the TV show scrubs, and have been waging an endless war against dishes in my kitchen for the last 6 years*.  I love local everything, from music to groceries, and will always be happiest when eating delicious anything.  I have terrible taste in television and am surrounded by wonderful people who forgive me every day.

*Update Oct. 18, 2013: Have acquired a dishwasher and the battle has been won.