Transfer student finds her place at Richmond

July 26, 2021
Melanie Fichera, '23, uses summer internship to put her knowledge to the test.

“It really feels like home,” said Melanie Fichera, ’23, when speaking of her time at University of Richmond. As a transfer student in fall 2020, Fichera has yet to experience campus outside of COVID-19 restrictions, but nonetheless knows she has found where she belongs. “I have been able to thrive during my first year here despite the pandemic, and I think that proves I made the right decision.”   

Having spent her first year at American University, Fichera kept her sights on Richmond as her older brother is a Spider. “I visited my brother several times and saw what life is like on campus. He always talked about how much he loved UR and his professors. I could not be more excited to be here as well,” she shared. Matt Fichera, ’19, studied accounting and now works as a trust solutions associate for PwC.

Fichera was specifically drawn to Richmond for the opportunity to study business. “I just knew it was going to be a better academic fit,” she said. With a finance and marketing concentration, she combines what she describes as the best of both worlds. “I’m a people person. I really like the energy and creativity that marketing allows, while finance is more straightforward but extremely intriguing.”

She has especially enjoyed finding crossover between her business studies and minor in rhetoric and communications. “Marketing builds a brand from the ground up and strategizes means of reaching the consumer. Rhetoric is all about identifying and analyzing language across mediums, examining what already exists. That is really helpful when evaluating marketing success,” she said. “Using the knowledge learned in the two fields to see things from different sides has been extremely interesting. Both take into account the ethical standard behind business and communication and how to align a brand with personal and social values.”

Fichera is putting her skills to the test this summer during her internship with BARBRI, a U.S. bar prep course. “I largely focus on social media activities—plan and post content, assist in the creative aspect, and conduct social listening and monitoring to identify opportunities for prospective student engagement,” she said. “It has been a great way to combine my love of writing with my analytical side to help advance the organization’s reach.”

While law school has always been an option (her mother practices law and used BARBRI when preparing for the bar), Fichera looks forward to continuing on her own path. “I think I have found what truly piques my curiosity, and I am happy to be on this course while at Richmond.”

As a campus tour guide, Fichera knows the ins and outs of Richmond and is excited about returning this fall to experience more of campus life. What she is most looking forward to? “Sitting at d-hall with friends for hours eating delicious food and catching up.”