Dual Track Success
The plot thickens… Class of 2019’s Mattie Norman plans to spin her undergraduate success story into LMU’s Master of the Arts program in English. A native of Heflin, Alabama, Mattie’s graduate track will take her between the lines of American Literature in order to explore craft and cultivate critical reading and writing skills valued both in the teaching field and public sector.
Named LMU’s 2019 Program Scholar for Screenwriting, Mattie will pair her studies with a Teaching Fellowship, acting as a writing instructor for courses in First Year Seminar and Rhetorical Arts.
“LMU’s commitment to educate the whole person is very sincere,” Mattie said, who earned a dual-degree in Screenwriting and English. “A lot of the classes I took changed the way I view the world and have made me much more socially aware.”
For instance, she says a fiction course she took with Professor Daniel Krause reignited her passion for English and set her down her current path by revealing to her new ways of looking at reading and writing.
“I wanted to learn in an environment where I felt welcome and nurtured,” Mattie said. “In the end, not only did LMU allow me to flourish, it prepared me to continue learning in the best possible ways.”
Originally drawn to the bluff for its warm community of students and top ranked LMU School of Film & Television, Mattie says she reaped the benefits of LMU’s small class sizes and professors committed to helping her soar beyond the bluff.
“Your best resource on campus is the professors,” she said. “I always felt like they provided a wealth of knowledge and help.”
This rang particularly true when working on her thesis screenplay, “Murphy’s Drive,” which tells the story of a band of senior citizens who bust out of their retirement home and take a road trip cross country in search of a missing friend.
“Professor Michelle Gillie was integral in helping me develop my story to its full potential,” Mattie said, adding that she created a protagonist who suffers from bipolar disorder in order to destigmatize mental illness.
With a student to faculty ratio of 10 to 1 and average class sizes of just 19, collaboration between Lions and their professors is a hallmark of the LMU experience.
Outside of the classroom, Mattie was involved with LMU’s student-run radio station KXLU and worked as writing tutor at the Academic Resource Center. Additionally, she was awarded the LMU English department’s Leonard Simon Blenkiron Award for excellence in English per a faculty vote.
As for what advice Mattie might have for future Lions (and potential First Year Seminar students?
“Start your college journey with an open mind and an eagerness to learn,” she said. “Seek out what inspires you on campus and get involved.”