Melissa Pompili
Class of 2011
Bachelor of Arts degree – English

A true academic, Melissa Pompili is already on her way to a PhD after earning a graduate degree from Eastern Michigan University. As a doctoral student and Teaching Fellow at Case Western Reserve University, she is teaching two sections of College Writing II and shares that her goal as an instructor is to "encourage students to embrace alternative routes to invention and analysis by asking them to 'read' works not typically considered literary in nature, such as music, sculpture and paintings."

"I do my best to help along the realization that there is no one 'right' way to approach a text or only one way to think and write about the world that we inhabit. It is my hope that in this realization my students will gain confidence in their own abilities and innovative critical thinking skills and that they will see the potential they each have to create a new relation to their world."

After proceeding through several graduate programs, Melissa came to realize that her undergraduate Lourdes education gave her some enormous advantages. "Lourdes' English program provides so much more coverage and depth compared to what one might find at a more traditional research university.

"Because of this, I have an understanding of a wide range of historical literary periods, movements and genres rather than a narrow specialization. My writing and analytical thinking skills also improved greatly while I was at Lourdes and I am a better scholar and teacher because of it."

Today, Melissa is using this breadth of knowledge in her academic research, which focuses on the affective (emotional) potential that emerged from queer discourses that she believes are embedded within late-nineteenth century transatlantic women's writing.

"My work argues that these discourses arose from descriptions of artistic production – painting, music and even photography – which I have termed 'aesthetic contact points.'

"I suspect that these instances of textual intimacy functioned as a site of affective attachment which allowed a reading public made up of marginalized subjects to form an intimate public with one another that would not alienate them from their normative family attachments while simultaneously creating a space where more egalitarian forms of social organization could be debated and experimented with."

After completing her PhD program, Melissa plans to continue teaching. "I believe that teaching is inherently a service profession. I try to approach every aspect of my job with reverence for others, as we all learn to be a better allies, friends and citizens of the world."

Doctoral student and teaching fellow

Community Involvement:
Co-founded a graduate student union at Eastern Michigan University
Contributing writer for Nineteenth Century Jewish Life website
Contributing writer for Toledo Reads
Officer for several student organizations focused on equality

Teaching Fellowship, Kent State University (2013)
Richard A. Toerne Fellowship, Kent State University (2013)
JNT: Journal of Narrative Theory graduate assistantship, Eastern Michigan University (2011-13)
Barbara M. Britsch, PhD, Excellence in Literature Award, Lourdes University (2011)

Gray Wolf Hero:
The Literary Light-Bearer

Pledge to people:
Helping the public "see" the emotional register embedded within artwork and music, shedding light on literary discourses inspired by works of art