Office Space: Melanie M. Rodgers, Associate Professor of Graphic Design
The way a person decorates can say a lot about them. In the Office Space series, we go beyond the résumé and get to know York College faculty and staff members through the objects they like to keep close.
Associate Professor of Graphic Design Melanie M. Rodgers began teaching at YCP in 1999 after 20 years of experience as a graphic designer and illustrator. A graduate of the York Academy of Arts, she has an M.A. in Digital Arts and an M.F.A. in Studio Art from The Maryland Institute College of Art. Rodgers teaches typography, lettering, and illustration. In addition to mentoring young artists, she is involved in a wide variety of personal projects in type design, animation, and writing. She lives in York with her husband, Steve, and cat, Roberta.
1. Sea Otter
This charming little sea otter has graced the windowsill of my office for the last 24 years. My husband got him for me as a gift the first month I was at YCP full-time.” The sea otter has always brightened Professor Rodgers’s day, regardless of what was going on, and brings a welcome reminder of the natural world into a software-intensive environment.
The jar was a gift from a former advisee and student. Professor Rodgers always felt it was a kind of mea culpa for the complicated advising situation the student was in, and the Herculean efforts she went to so that he was exactly where he wanted to be. “Third school, third major at YCP, brilliant, driven, and talented. Once this guy found graphic design,” she says, “he was unstoppable. But as complicated as his situation sometimes got, it was so gratifying to see him become a successful professional. No apologies were necessary.” But, she adds, “I do get a chuckle every time I see this on my shelf.”
3. Reproduction of the Third Panel of Marc Chagall’s America Windows
This reproduction of the third panel of Marc Chagall’s stained-glass window triptych, America Windows, at the Art Institute of Chicago, is in the ideal spot in Wolf 301’s abundant natural light. Professor Rodgers has been a fascinated by Chagall’s work since childhood, and his vibrant colors and shapes never cease to amaze her. This piece makes every day “brighter, lighter, and more joyous.”
4. Snake Figure
“The snake has followed me to several different locations over the years,” Professor Rodgers says. The iron snake was made by her grandfather, Walter Miller, who was a journeyman machinist at the former Naval Ordnance Plant in York. An avid outdoor sportsman, he took some iron scrap and made this figure, whose body is a dead ringer for a snake in the wild. She saw this on his desk for years as she was growing up, and it was so realistic that every time she’d see it, a little bit of flight response kicked in. Several visitors to her office have experienced the same!
“This photo of my father, Tom Miller, the television advertising sales manager for a CBS affiliate, at his desk hangs above my own desk at YCP, and motivates and inspires me every day.” During a successful 36-year career at the station, he became known for his graciousness, respect for others, ability to listen, intuition, and sense of humor. He taught Professor Rodgers the value of working really hard and keeping it classy. “My Pop was the embodiment of Maya Angelou’s quote, ‘People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.’”