Melissa is a second year Masters of Fine Arts candidate studying intermedia art. She was born and raised in Cedar Rapids, IA and completed her BFA in performance art and BA in art education from the University of Northern Iowa. Before returning to graduate school, Melissa worked as a 6-12 art educator in Waterloo, IA. Learning how to provide creative experiences to her students allowed her to grow even more curious about her personal art practice. Through her artistic research and practice, Melissa strives to understand and translate religious experiences to a secular world. With an emphasis on pilgrimage, she reflects on her personal journeys to various sacred destinations and identifies the different components that played such an impactful role on the overall experience. The University of Iowa has provided her with the chance to fully dive into her creative practice as an artist while also allowing her to continue her passion for teaching. Melissa is a teacher of record within the School of Art and Art History. As a graduate student, she also has participated in the Geneva Campus Ministry’s Christians On the Road to Excellence fellowship program. Further, Melissa has traveled to conduct her research with support from a PHIL grant. A combination of these opportunities gives Melissa excitement about a future working in academia both by teaching and showcasing her research to a greater audience. When not creating work in her studio, Melissa loves spending quality time with her family, hiking on the trails, and dreaming about her next travel adventure.
An Artistic Depiction: The Power of Community on Pilgrimage