Pine Manor College alumna Melissa Lucken (formerly Melissa Ford Gehrig) talks about why she chose to return to PMC as a graduate student in the Solstice MFA in Creative Writing Program*.
"By the time I reached ninth grade I had already attended six schools, so I knew all about drifting along, slipping through the cracks. Throughout most of high school I floated along — one of 1400 students. Senior year I realized it was my responsibility to provide the challenges I needed to grow. As a result, I only considered small colleges, places where I wouldn’t be able to fade into the background. When I discovered Pine Manor College, and learned that not only was it small but exclusively for women (*Solstice is a co-ed program), I knew it would be a great place for me. I was right. The intimate atmosphere helped me focus on my academics and gave me the support I needed to begin believing in myself.
After a year and a half, missing my family and then boyfriend — now husband of 21 years — I transferred to the University of Michigan. UofM was closer to home but a much, much larger school. I missed the intimacy of PMC but appreciated the challenge of finding my way among thousands. The solid academic foundation and self confidence I gained while at Pine Manor enabled me to be successful in such a highly competitive environment — instead of getting lost in the crowd. I completed my BS at UofM and then moved on to Eastern Michigan University to earn a Master’s in Education. I started my career as a teacher and then a bit later started my life as a mother. While at home with my two boys, I started writing fiction.
Since then, I’ve published eight romance novels and twelve novellas. While commercial success is great, I recently decided I needed a deeper understanding of how fiction works. Also, I longed to be part of a diverse community of writers. When I found out about the Solstice MFA program, I was thrilled. Some research confirmed what I expected; the individualized curriculum and amazing faculty were exactly what I was looking for. It’s not a place to get lost in the crowd. The PMC MFA program is a place for students who aim to uncover their unique qualities as a writer while also learning from those around them. I wanted both of those things. I’m only in my first semester, but already I’ve made many writer friends and learned incredible things."
—Melissa Ford Lucken
Tue, August 4, 2009