Melanie Ostberg Culuko graduated from Hilltop High School in 1996. A talented, multi-sport athlete she competed on the Lancers’ volleyball, basketball, and softball teams. In 1994 playing for Coach Nancy Acerrio’s outstanding softball program, she was selected 1st Team All-Metro Conference and All-CIF. The following year as a senior, Melanie earned Volleyball’s 1st Team All-Metro Conference honors and was named Hilltop’s Most Valuable Player.
In 1996, Melanie enrolled at Southwestern College and played for the Women’s Intercollegiate Volleyball Team for two years coached by Karen Day Cravens. In 1997 as a sophomore, she was selected 1st Team Pacific Coast Conference and was named SWC’ Best All Around and Best Defensive Player. A 5’10” outside hitter, she notched 127 kills (+.193 hitting efficiency) and dug 97 balls playing tough defense throughout the season. She was also selected Pepsi Scholar Athlete for her accomplishments on the court and in the classroom. Through 1999-2000 she played softball for the Intercollegiate Women’s Team under Coach Steve Miner. She was named 2nd Team Pacific Coast Conference and received the Coaches Award. One of Melanie’s best memories was beating perennial state champion Palomar College’s softball team. Southwestern had not won a game in many years. Palomar was undefeated in conference play and the score was 0-0 when Melanie came up to the plate at the top of the sixth inning. With a runner on second, she saw the perfect pitch and drove it up the middle, enabling the runner on second to score. Southwestern entered the bottom of the 6th with a 1-0 lead and was able to hold Palomar scoreless for the win. Not only was it a highlight in her softball career, but the victory was a milestone for the Southwestern College softball program.
After Southwestern College, Melanie attended California State University San Marcos and continued her academic excellence by being named on the Dean’s List. In 2002, she completed her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Liberal Studies with a minor in History and continued at the university for another year to complete her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. Melanie earned a Master’s Degree in Education in 2009 from Grand Canyon University.
In July 2003, Melanie was hired by the Chula Vista Police Department as a temporary intelligence Analyst. Two years later, she became a Public Safety Analyst and worked on a variety of public safety and crime issues. She also helped implement various improvements with the Department before becoming Police Chief David Bejarano’s Chief of Staff in 2014.
Melanie has served as a subject matter expert for CBS Evening News, Allentown Productions’ documentary Murder by Proxy, and a host for members of the British Parliament visiting Chula Vista to discuss their bullying prevention program.
Melanie has not forgotten the Chula Vista or San Diego communities. Presently, she us in the Board of Women Leaders in Law Enforcement, the School Site Council Representative for Allen Elementary School, and for the last nine years, participated in Rady’s Children Hospital Kids News Day. Since 2014, Melanie has sponsored a Female Scholar Athlete Scholarship at Hilltop High School.
IN 2009, Melanie received the Chula Vista Police Department’s- Exceptional Service Award; in 2001, the Employee of the Year Award, and 2013, the Thomas Loughran Award. While competing for Southwestern College, Melanie was always supported by her family who attended and cheered at all her athletic events. Today Melanie is married to Jeremy Culuko and they have two wonderful daughters, Madison and Natalie.
Congratulations Melanie Ostberg Culuko for your unparalleled achievements as a student-athlete. It is our distinct honor to induct you into the Southwestern College Athletic Hall of Fame, Class of 2016.