Board of Directors Profile
Chair and Founder
Ray Mellado is the founder, and Chairman of the Board of Great Minds in STEM™ (Formerly HENAAC). The mission of Great Minds in STEM™ is: To educate, motivate and enable more underserved students to achieve careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM); To develop and leverage Hispanic STEM talent to play a leadership role; To engage families, educators and employers to support underserved students in STEM careers; To inspire our nation through recognition of the achievements of Hispanics and other role models in STEM; To lead collaboration and cooperation within the STEM community
Great Minds in STEM™ began to carry out this mission through its annual HENAAC conference, now entering its twenty sixth year. Along with the HENAAC Conference, this organization has programs like the Hall of Fame, the College Bowl, and STEM education awareness programs like STEM-Up™ and Viva Technology™ which has been implemented in 18 states.
Mellado entered the private sector after a distinguished 21-year marketing/sales executive career with the Xerox Corporation. Throughout his career, Mellado has taken an active leadership role in the Hispanic Community. In 1977, while a notable member of the Xerox marketing and sales team, Mellado was a founding member of the Hispanic Association for Professional Advancement (HAPA), one of the first Hispanic Employee Associations in Corporate America. Mellado also coached football at the high school, community college and college level for 17 years.
Mellado has been the recipient of several awards. In 2009, he was honored with the NASA Exceptional Public Service Medal. This award is limited to less than one percent of the contractor workforce. He received this medal for outstanding contributions to NASA’s mission in honoring and documenting the success of outstanding Hispanic American professionals, including NASA engineers, scientist and astronauts. In addition, Admiral Gary Roughead Chief of Naval Operations presented Mr. Mellado with the inaugural Admiral David Farragut Hispanic Diversity Champion Award in 2010. He received the 2011 Outstanding Alumnus Award from Whittier College for his work in STEM with underrepresented communities. In October, 2013 Ray, along with his wife Carmela, were inducted into the HENAAC Hall of Fame at the 25th Anniversary of the HENAAC Conference.
Mellado serves on several boards and committees including: the Executive Advisory Council for the College of Engineering, Computer Science and Technology at California State University Los Angeles (CSULA); the Board of Directors of the California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science (COSMOS), a residential academic experience for top high school students in mathematics and science from the UC System; Past Chair and current member of the Advisory Board of the Association of Naval Service Officers (ANSO), an organization dedicated to Hispanic officer recruitment and retention; the Board of the Foundation for the Advancement of Science Education (FASE), producers of award-winning educational products that have earned three Peabody Awards; and the National Football Foundation Pasadena/San Gabriel Valley Chapter Board of Directors. Most recently Mr. Mellado has joined the California STEM Learning Network (CSLNet) as a member of their Advisory Council and was honored to have worked with The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in 2013 on their efforts to promote the President’s idea of the importance of drawing upon the broad talents of all Americans in the fields of science, technology, for Minority Inclusion in STEM.
Mellado was born and raised in Los Angeles, California where he attended Cathedral High School, East Los Angeles College and Whittier College. He and his wife, Carmela, have been married for 41 years and have three grown children and 4 grandchildren.