Re-Writing Her Story
Maria McKee, Class of 2019, always knew that she would become a Laker someday. A Grand Rapids native, Maria became involved at Grand Valley State University at a young age by competing in Science Olympiad competitions on campus. Her decision to enroll was natural. However, what surprised Maria was her decision to study writing. Maria was inspired to change her major from history to writing after taking a creative writing elective, and quickly fell in love with the subject.
“When I first came to Grand Valley, I didn’t understand writing as something that could be important to me,” Maria says. “But taking creative writing opened my eyes to how important a tool language is in the world and for ourselves as individuals.”
Maria became increasingly involved in the writing program at Grand Valley and transformed from “new writer,” to “recognized talent.” Maria currently works as a peer consultant at the Fred Meijer Center for Writing & Michigan Authors to help students from all majors improve their writing. While Maria is working to help others, she herself recognizes how the Meijer Writing Center has helped her blossom and expand her horizons.
“The writing center is an incredible support system of consultants and peer tutors,” she says. “I think it’s probably one of the best resources that Grand Valley has to offer.”
The effects of the program on her growth as a writer are obvious. In the fall of her junior year, Maria was awarded a national intro award from the Association of Writers & Writing Programs, an honor shared by only eight other student poets in the nation.
“When I found out that I was going to be a national recipient for poetry I was so excited,” Maria says. “I know that Grand Valley’s writing program definitely set me up for success.”
Realizing how much of an impact the Meijer Writing Center and writing program have had on her life, Maria is filled with gratitude from the generosity of donors who support the programs.
“To the donors who have supported Grand Valley, the Meijer Writing Center, and the writing program, I am incredibly thankful,” she says. “I wouldn’t be here doing what I do, what I’ve come to love, without them.”
In the future, Maria hopes to give back, as others have done for her, by using all that she has learned at Grand Valley to help writers improve their skills.
“I would like my Laker Effect to be to help individuals feel empowered to use the tools that they have to better themselves and to better their world and to better their communities, Maria says.”