WASHINGTON—Mariela Melero, associate director for Customer Service and Public Engagement at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, is a finalist for the 2016 Service to America Medals honoring excellence among federal employees.
“I came to this country with my parents as a refugee,” Melero said. “It is both an honor and a privilege to be able to help others navigate our immigration system.”
The Partnership for Public Service will announce this year’s winners of the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals, known as the Sammies, at a black-tie gala in the fall. The partnership, which has presented the awards since 2001, selects one winner in each category: Federal Employee of the Year, Career Achievement, Call to Service, Citizen Services, Homeland Security and Law Enforcement, Management Excellence, National Security and International Affairs, and Science and Environment.
Melero is a finalist in the Citizen Services category. She was nominated for her work leading a team whose objective is to make finding immigration information quicker and easier. Her team has developed online and telephone services that are among the most customer-friendly in the federal government.
“The difference Mariela and her team have made for our customers by providing accessible customer-focused tools can’t be overstated,” said USCIS Director León Rodríguez. “Her selection as a finalist for this award reflects the hard work Mariela does every day for our agency and our customers. I am extremely proud of her for this well-deserved recognition.”
One of the accomplishments of Melero’s team is myUSCIS. This suite of online tools helps people explore their immigration options, find up-to-date information about the immigration process, prepare for naturalization, and locate citizenship classes and authorized doctors in their community.
Another accomplishment is Emma, a virtual assistant that helps nearly 5,000 different users a day find answers to their questions in plain English. A Spanish version will be released in the near future.