Melissa Chua O’Hara, Designer at Concordia, operates at the intersection of art, design, storytelling, and business. She is passionate about finding creative yet tangible ways to integrate concepts of wellness and mindfulness to individuals and communities. Her work is aimed at elevating the quality of life for rural and semi-urban communities, particularly within the context of economic empowerment and creativepreneurship along North America’s historic main streets.

While completing a BS in Journalism and MBA at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Melissa directed and edited a video webisode series following student sustainable product design efforts serving subsistence farming communities in Chennai, India. During her Master of Architecture at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, Melissa curated an audio/visual map and somatic archive of field research along Louisiana’s Cancer Alley. Her capstone project Cell Shocked, which imagines semi-permanent housing developments along the LA River’s industrial corridor, was selected for the CriticalMASS Symposium at UNC Charlotte in 2023. In 2018, Melissa received a Raja yoga certification from the Midi-Pyrenees, France. Currently, Melissa is writing and illustrating an oracle deck of wild plant life native to Governors Island, New York, based on the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot tradition, as part of the SWALE NYC residency founded by artist Mary Mattingly.

Originally from Chicago, Illinois, Melissa has traveled and lived in cities of very different scales, including Boulder, Colorado; New Orleans, Louisiana; and currently New York, New York. She has made a living as a marketing professional and designer, previously at JLL and now co-creating brand and graphic identities for architecture firms, research institutions, and real estate developers. At Concordia she aims to bring ideas from wellness, product development and entrepreneurship closer to architecture and design.