Melissa Statler
Senior Melissa Statler, who graduates in May, said her English classes at CMU helped her define her path after college.


The write stuff: Hands-on experiences helped senior Melissa Statler find her passion

Thanks to real-world, hands-on experiences at Colorado Mesa University, senior Melissa Statler has found her passion. Statler, who graduates in May, originally planned to major in secondary English education. But after writing and editing for various CMU student-run publications, she switched her major to English literature, with an eye toward a career in publishing.

“I want to be writing and editing,” Statler said.

Since last spring, Statler has served as managing editor of the university’s literary magazine, Pinyon. She is also managing editor of Horizon magazine. She has written for the magazine as well as the student newspaper, the Criterion.

Some of her English courses also helped her identify the path she wants to take in life, particularly Young Adult Literature, taught by Robin Calland, assistant professor of English. “She verified that young adult literature is not only a genre important to kids, but something that can be studied as a cultural phenomenon and a reflection of humanity,” Statler said.

English 111 with Jennifer Hancock, assistant professor of English turned out to be her most formative class. “[Hancock] challenged every preconceived notion I had regarding semiotics [the study of signs and symbols in various fields, especially language], Statler said. “One of the primary components of learning is questioning, skepticism. She taught me to do that.”

Statler said that the entire CMU English department is “phenomenal.” She has particularly appreciated working with her academic advisor and Pinyon supervisor Randy Phillis, from whom she’s taken several classes. “He’s been encouraging and has given me outlets to be more professional,” she said.

Phillis said he appointed Statler as Pinyon editor because of her intelligence and ability to synthesize information in a very sophisticated way for an undergraduate.

“When I ask her to get something done, she figures out a viable approach very rapidly on her own so I don’t have to do any babysitting,” Phillis said. “She’s a natural problem solver.”

Statler grew up in Rifle and commutes to school from Parachute, where she lives with her husband, Jake. After graduation she will pursue a career in publishing. Although she likes Colorado, she said she is open to exploring new horizons and moving to wherever she finds a job.

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