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Melanie Maldonado is a bombera, artivist, independent scholar and education administrator with doctoral training in Performance Studies. She is an alumnus of The Smithsonian Institute for the Interpretation and Research of Latino Cultures and was a researcher for the 2005 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Melanie has organized eight Bomba Research Conferences (under the banner name of PROPA) in Chicago and Puerto Rico. She is a state appointed grant reviewer for arts culture In Florida and is on the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs grants task force. Melanie has provided slang editing for two books of Nuyorican poetry and has six publications to her name. She is active in her local community serving as a founding board member for Escuela de Bomba y Plena Tata Cepeda in Kissimmee and as a board member for Alianza Center in Orlando.