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Art Student at BYU Earns National Distinction

June 2014

Melissa Manwill thought her future was etched in stone when she graduated from high school. She had a scholarship in hand. Her class schedule at a university other than BYU was set. Her housing was reserved, when - quite unexpectedly - the chair of the Visual Arts Department at BYU called to offer a scholarship.

After visiting the facilities and meeting students, “I fell in love with the place and knew I had to be here,” she said.

Melissa has since received a scholarship every semester for the last four years, which has allowed her more time in the studio to hone her skills. As a senior, she gained national distinction for helping to create a series of 36 mini videos aimed at helping children learn to read.

With growing illiteracy rates, she explained, the Library of Congress came to BYU asking for ways to help students improve reading. Melissa and her colleagues created an interactive mobile app that allows children to put characters into the story to involve them in an entertaining adventure.

“We decided to use the very devices that were hindering reading to bring students back to reading,” she said.

“My scholarships allowed me to practice my passion,” she said. “Regular jobs may pay the bills, but it’s been wonderful to apply that time to my passion of art.”

Her desire is to use her talent to create beauty, like is found in the world. “More voices of good that inspire ideals and morals is a way to change the world by art,” she said.

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