Rito Melendez, South Florida Community College

Rito Melendez is a Hardee County resident and second-year student at South Florida Community College. He is from a family of phosphate miners and has worked in the mines himself. As SFCC liaison for a study reviewing Hardee County’s economic options, he has been an invaluable “insider-outsider,” bringing his insider knowledge of phosphate mining and miners’ lives to a team of academic researchers, and, in turn, representing the academic team’s concerns to local residents.

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