Phone: (574) 631-7568
Entrepreneurship and Education Program Director, Integration Lab Administrative Director, and Professor of the Practice
Melissa Paulsen, the Pulte Institute’s Entrepreneurship and Education Program Director, is an expert in design thinking for social innovation. She works closely with students and faculty to foster high-impact solutions through interdisciplinary approaches to entrepreneurship and leadership education.
A teacher, researcher, and entrepreneur, Melissa embodies the multifaceted approach necessary to devise and implement solutions for the world’s most complex challenges. Paulsen’s portfolio includes serving as administrative director and faculty advisor for the Master of Global Affairs’ Integration Lab (i-Lab) in the University of Notre Dame’s Keough School of Global Affairs and as co-director of its Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation minor. She has also managed experiential and service-learning programs for undergraduates, graduate students, and professionals around the world.
Melissa has played an instrumental role in Notre Dame’s partnership with the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, the flagship program of the U.S. Government’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). The Pulte Institute has been a YALI partner since 2013, welcoming 25 of Africa’s brightest emerging leaders to campus each summer for a six-week Leadership Institute sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.
Melissa's human-centered approach puts the people most affected by the issues her work addresses at the core of the planning and implementation process. In 2023, she was honored with a University of Notre Dame Presidential Achievement Award for being “a role model who embodies all of the University’s core values.”
Before joining the Pulte Institute, Melissa served as an assistant director at Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business Gigot Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, where she helped launch a Microventuring Certificate Program for undergraduate business and nonbusiness to provide technical and other consulting services to low-income entrepreneurs.
Melissa holds a master’s degree in nonprofit administration from Notre Dame and a bachelor’s degree in English and philosophy from Assumption College.