Success Stories

Students' writing makes waves

Jessica Miller

If Jessica Miller could have seen the impact her writing was able to have on others she might not have insisted that everyone ‘Keep Out’ of her journals when she was younger.  

Miller, a senior writing major originally from Farmington Hills, said writing was always something she enjoyed and was good at, but never something she thought of as a career. That is until she became the editor of the first edition of Waves, a new annual magazine produced by the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures (MLL).

Over the summer, Miller worked closely with Majd Al-Mallah, creator of Waves and MLL chair, to brainstorm ideas and write and edit articles for the magazine. Waves made its debut in August 2012 in print and online on the MLL Department website.

Miller said the primary focus of the magazine is to serve as an introduction into the programs and services offered by MLL. Waves also showcases the work and success stories of students, faculty, staff and alumni from MLL, features upcoming events and outlines the benefits one can gain by studying languages.

Al-Mallah said the idea behind Waves was to capture what MLL is about, which is to teach languages and cultures and to connect students to a larger global community.

Waves became the image that captures that connection to the world, especially since many of our students become a bridge to other countries through their work, study abroad, internships and so on,” said Al-Mallah

Miller said her work as a consultant with the Frederick Meijer Writing Center over the past three years gave her a sound base in her writing career and equipped her with the skills to make Waves a success.

Miller described the process of developing a magazine as both a humbling and exciting experience. “I was really stepping out on a limb knowing people would be reading my work,” said Miller. “It was something I had never experienced before in my writing career.”

“When I held the printed magazine in my hands for the first time it made it all worth it,” said Miller. “I couldn’t help but smile.”

Miller said that, after graduating from Grand Valley, she plans to pursue a master’s degree in professional writing. Miller said she eventually hopes to work in publishing or career development.

Al-Mallah said he was impressed with Miller’s ability to do research, to write and to lead others in the process. “She understood the vision behind the magazine and worked very hard to bring it to reality,” said Al-Mallah.


by Jessica Hines