Alone we can do so little.
Together we can do so much.
― Helen Keller ―

Melissa Huff - Interim Event Director for iMAGINE Upstate

Melissa joined the iMAGINE Upstate team in December 2016 to lead the 3rd Annual iMAGINE Upstate festival. As a visionary who is passionate about creating equitable education and career opportunities, Melissa is excited to be involved in providing innovative, hands-on learning in STEAM to all Upstate students.

Prior to joining the iMAGINE team, Melissa directed the BOOST (Building Opportunities in Out-of-School Time) Initiative at United Way of Greenville County where she worked to ensure that all children have access to high-quality learning opportunities beyond the school day, including exposure to STEM activities. She has worked in the non-profit sector for nearly 15 years in various capacities including operations management, fund development, program management and event planning.

As a Greenville native who has been active in community development and advocacy in Birmingham, AL and Chicago, IL, she is glad to be back in Greenville since 2014 and to be part of its growth and vibrant culture. Melissa earned her bachelor’s from Samford University and her master’s in social sciences from the University of Chicago. In her free time, you can find her reading or writing, with her two kids at the Greenville County Library or the Children’s Museum of the Upstate, or hanging around downtown Greenville checking out the latest restaurant or event.

Alyx Farkas - Marketing Intern

Her Take on Leadership

Leaders are independent thinkers and decision makers who seek to develop the stagnant and stale. They strive to better their surroundings for the benefits of others over themselves.

Her Quote To Live By

"Walk with the dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful, the planners, the doers, the successful people with their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground. Let their spirit ignite a fire within you to leave this world better than when you found it...”
- Wilfred Peterson

A freshman at Clemson University, Alyx started interning for iMAGINE Upstate while in high school. After an outstanding year interning, we are thrilled to welcome Alyx back as a college intern. Her strong desire to learn is evident as she already completed an Associate in Marketing and Certificate in Marketing Communications before enrolling at Clemson. Her love of photography and video editing has paved the way to her interest in pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Marketing. Alyx promoted iMAGINE Upstate at the 2016 Miss South Carolina Pageant, is involved with Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership, and is a member of Central Spirit at Clemson University.

Jonathan Riddle - High School Intern

Fun Fact About Jon

Jon won the grand prize drone at the first iMAGINE Upstate Festival in 2015! He came back to volunteer and fly that same drone at the 2016 iMAGINE Upstate Festival.

Jon's Quote To Live By

"We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths. ”
- Walt Disney

A senior at Brashier Middle College Charter High School, Jon plans to continue his education at Clemson University after high school. He has a passion for automotive and is interested in learning more about how cars are designed. His goal is to be part of the graduate program at CUICAR for Automotive Engineering and potentially work for a company like BMW. A go-getter, Jon is a member of Beta Club and National Honors Society. He has been an active member of Youth in Government for the past three years and plans to participate again in 2016. He might be a high school student, but he is proud to say that he has successfully completed several college classes already..."When I go to college, I will be one step ahead of the game." In addition to being enrolled in college and high school courses, he has made the Dean's List at Greenville Tech. every semester! Jon will be helping elevate the automotive and unmanned aviation exhibits at iMAGINE Upstate in 2017. We are thrilled to have him involved in a big way this year!  

Kristina Toney - Marketing Intern

Her Take On Leadership

Leaders are guided by their curiosity and are driven by their constant dedication to innovation and service. They work constantly to ensure that the diverse voices in a group feel heard and valued in their pursuit of a shared goal. Through perseverance and an uninhibited passion for a dream or idea, anything remains possible.

Kristina's Quote To Live By

"A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history."
- Mahatma Gandhi

Kristina is a senior at Clemson University pursuing a double major in Communications and English with an emphasis in Writing and Publication Studies. Kristina works in the Clemson University Writing Center as a Writing Fellow. Last year, she interned in Clemson’s Social Media Listening Center. She also served as a mentor to incoming undergraduate and transfer students at Clemson through volunteering as a facilitator for Clemson IMPACT, a leadership and civic engagement program. Kristina is dedicated to scholarship, demonstrated by her presence on the President’s List every semester she has been enrolled at Clemson.

Kristina has a great passion for the arts. This year, she works at the Editor-in-chief of the Chronicle Magazine, Clemson University’s student-run arts and literary magazine. She previously served this organization for two years as its Promotions/Events Director. Kristina also hosts a weekly radio show at WSBF-FM Clemson, the student-run educational alternative radio station at Clemson, where she also serves as the Loud Rock Genre Director. Her involvement with these creative and innovative organizations on campus drives her goal of working in the music industry. Kristina enjoys writing, reading, listening to music, watching films, and cycling. She is both honored and excited to be a part of the iMAGINE Upstate team!

Francisco Celis Villagrana - High School Intern

His Favorite Poem

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.
- J.R.R. Tolkien

A hardworking and friendly individual, Francisco’s life began on July of 1999 in Puebla, Mexico. Having moved to the United States at three years old, Francisco, along with his two parents and older sister, has lived in Michigan, Texas, and South Carolina, where he currently lives. Francisco loves to travel; he has been to seven countries and lived in two! Francisco also speaks fluent Spanish! Francisco’s other passions include martial arts, reading, and watching films.

Francisco is currently a senior at Greer Middle College Charter High School. Academically, Francisco is placed in the top ten of his class and is a Beta Club and National Honor Society member. Francisco is also taking dual credit courses at Greenville Technical College and is a Dean’s list awardee. Francisco is ecstatic to be joining the iMAGINE Upstate team this year.