Texas Tech University

Melissa Villarreal

Student Success Specialist

"Live life to the fullest and be happy."

Melissa Villarreal, Success Specialist

I am very excited to start my new journey as a Student Success Specialist with Student Engagement. My role as a Student Success Specialist will be to guide my students to resources that they were unaware of, provide resources prior to academic probation/warning or simply needing someone to talk to. I have completed an intense 8-week training course to ensure that my students are assisted to the fullest.To ensure that my students are assisted to the best of my ability I am continuously learning and adapting to my surrounds.

Prior to my position with Student Engagement, I was working at the TTU Learning Center. I assisted the Learning Center with the student hiring/recruiting/verifying process for new student workers, oversaw front desk student assistants, and assisted with student involved events. I also worked at a non-profit company, named Learn Inc. for about 2 years. We assisted high school seniors in pursuing their post-secondary education by helping them through admissions, financial aid, cost of attendance, housing and other preparations for their first year in college. We primarily assisted low-income first-generation students from 17 different high schools around the West Texas area. I also have 5 years of experience working with financial aid, 4 at Texas Tech and 1 at Vista College. I have assisted students with completing their FAFSA application, resolving incomplete FAFSAs, the verification process, loan applications, loan disbursements, over-awarded budgets, special circumstances and budget increases.

When I am not at work, I enjoy spending time with my family. Every relationship I have with my family is different, but I love each one. With my husband our thing is having “dinner dates”. Cheddar's is our go to spot. My oldest son is Tristan, with my oldest son Tristan, we enjoy watching movies, we like all movies, but our favorite movie theme is horror. We are the only ones in the family that love scary movies. My middle son is Tyler, but he goes by Ty, he is my soccer player. He has been playing since he was 4 and loves it. Last but certainly not least, is my daughter Sonia. She is the glue to our family. She helps me keep all the boys in the house in line.  We all love celebrating the holidays together, especially when we get to decorate the house.  



Years in Higher Ed


Years at TTU

Graduation Cap

General Business

Ask me about:

My advice to my 18-year-old-self.

If I could go back in time and give my 18-year-old self any advice, I would tell myself to focus more on my academics and take full advantage of all the resources that are offered. Take advantage of the free learning assistance, study abroad programs, and join organizations. Don't be afraid to ask for help and meet new people..

The most inspiring part of my job.

The most inspiring part about my job is getting to be able to help current TTU students. I know what it's like to feel lost and not know where to go for help. That is why I feel like this job is perfect for me. I am able to relate to students and have no judgments.

What I was pretty sure I'd be when I grew up.

When I was 5, I was pretty sure I'd be a scientist when I grew up. I would always say that I wanted to be a scientist. I wanted to work in a lab and complete research of any kind, just to be able to study anything science based. This idea probably came after watching Jurassic Park (the original).

Who I'd like to swap places with for the day.

I would like to swap places with my cat Charlie. He is so silly and acts like a human baby during the day, but at night he is out and about. I would like to know where he goes and what he thinks of us.

My Academic Journey

During my senior year in high school, I decided on Biological Science as a major. I enjoyed all my science-based classes in high school and knew that I was going to major in that. But when I met my first academic advisor and saw the degree plan for that major, I quickly changed my mind. I then decided on Psychology as a major. I took several courses in psychology, but after researching my career options found out that I wouldn't be able to do what I wanted to unless I went to grad school, so I changed my major again to Business. I graduated with a degree in Business and a minor in Psychology. My advice to anyone who is unclear of what they want to major in, start researching. Research career paths, income, and what type of schedule you would be working. Make sure that you are happy in all three. As you get older, happiness is key to a successful workplace.

My Background

First Gen Student

Was a first gen college student.


Student Parent

Was a student-parent.


Worked in College

Worked while in college.


Took Time Off

Took time off during degree.


Rural Area

Grew up in a rural area.



Cheering on others during sporting events
Watching reels on Facebook
Organizing a project
Doing the dishes every day.