Oral Histories

Emily Mellott


Emily Mellott


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Emily Mellott grew up in Chicago and heard about IMSA through the State Talent Search. On a tour with her family she decided it was a place she wanted to be. She recalls that the letter about her acceptance to the class of 1991 also noted that IMSA may not have the funds to stay open.

Mellott had previously attended a magnet school in Chicago and arriving at IMSA she appreciated that she now lived with all her friends and could participate in extracurricular activities. She joined the swim team, played in the orchestra, and sang in the choir. She got involved in starting a student newspaper and came up with its name at the first meeting: The Acronym.

Academically, Mellott found the IMSA experience challenging, particularly the first semester. One thing that stands out in her memory was getting to know teachers as people outside of classes, a type of engagement she didn't encounter again until graduate school. She went in thinking her primary interest lay in the humanities, but came to love physics. She also studied languages, completing the French curriculum and taking introductory German. In her junior and senior years there was an exchange program with a Russian school and one of the Russian exchange students lived in her quad room. This happened in the context of the dissolution of the USSR and brought home how world events touched students' lives.

After IMSA Mellott attended Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania and majored in economics. She decided it her interests because economics combined the study of human behavior with math and science skills she had learned at IMSA. After graduation she worked for in IT at Bryn Mawr and then worked at an adventure travel company while figuring out what she wanted to do in the longer term.

Ten years after finishing college, Mellott graduated from seminary as an Episcopal priest. She feels her IMSA experience is still relevant and valuable in her current work, helping her translate between scientific understanding and religious belief. She also credits exposure to role-playing games at IMSA with helping her understand building shared stories, which is important for how she writes sermons. She currently leads a church in southern New Jersey.

Interviewer: Sara Goek. Duration: 1:06:05




alumni, careers, Cold War, college, extracurriculars, faculty, funding, humanities, language classes, science classes, residential life


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Emily Mellott