Mariah Kliegl '16

Graceland student Mariah Kliegl `16

Following in the footsteps of her mother, Mariah Kliegl made her way to Graceland University. She is now a junior majoring in English and is the editor of the student newspaper, The Tower. The newspaper began 94 years ago, and has recently moved from a print to a digital product. Kleigl’s main goal as editor: increase the web traffic for the e-paper.

Her work with The Tower underscores her desire to be involved in journalism. After graduation, Kliegl wants to be an author, a filmmaker, and/or a traveling journalist. Through her "Graceland Experience," she has found a deep passion for capturing the world in words and in film, and she found a strong support system in the Graceland faculty, who have nurtured her passion.

World Literature with Barbara Mesle has been her favorite literature class. “It was amazing for me! It definitely connected to my passion for travel,” expressed Kliegl. The class of about 10 students focused on different cultures and how each culture tells their story. “In high school you grow up really only knowing about the writers that are relevant to what you are learning. We studied a lot from U.S. and European authors, so the readings weren’t very diverse. In this class we got to read from different corners of the world: Africa, South America, etc.” Not only was Mesle an inspirational teacher, she also provided pep talks to Kliegl when she was feeling unmotivated. Mesle kept Kliegl reading, writing and learning. 

Along with writing, film has always been an interest of Mariah’s, but it wasn’t until she took Isaac Pressnell’s Creative Writing Experiments class that film became a future career option. Pressnell was aware of Kliegl’s enthusiasm for film. “He knew I was interested in creating film — I gave him a lot of excuses on why I hadn’t actually tried filming. At the end of winter term, he gave me his old iPhone and said, ‘No more excuses. I want to see what you can do.’ Having the ability to film was scary and intimidating, but I’m glad he pushed me. The project I did turned out very well — better than expected — and it is still very special to me.”

Mariah Kliegl’s "Graceland Experience" includes the formation of a strong bond with her Graceland instructors. “They really do care about you doing your best and being successful. Even if you completely mess up, they will still support you, motivate you and push you because they know you can be better. They are there for you if you are struggling or if you just need help. They never stop believing in you, even when you cease to believe in yourself. You just don’t get this at a large university.”