Abigail Payne-Meili ’15

Conference work is really valuable in a lot of ways, but one of the most important aspects is that you’re independently working on something that’s really important to you. Instead of focusing on something because it’s required, you get to develop your own interests.

Abigail's Journey

Conference Work

“Create Your Own Poem”


I developed a box with a book inside that enabled the user to “create your own poem” by changing around the pages of the book. The idea for it was cumulative—more a collection of ideas that I brought to the project from what I’d studied previously, like color theory. I did a practice book prior to my project, made of leaves from Wisconsin and New York.

One of my friends was taking “Artist Books” with a professor named Kris Philipps (visual & studio arts), so we went to the studio and rebound my poem. That was the beginning of a great relationship; Kris advised me on this project for her course. We have a very similar outlook on life, and she’s very warmhearted. Whenever I bump into her, it’s like seeing an old friend.

I think learning how to work with books and learning how to make books the old-fashioned way is a rare art. It’s about being patient, taking the time you need, and making sure everything is just right—and pushing yourself to be a little more innovative. Sometimes you try something and it doesn’t work, so you start again. You have to have that mindset; it’s okay to start over if it doesn’t work out.

Faculty: Kris Philipps

Discipline: Visual & Studio Arts


Clubs & Working On Campus


I was a part of the FEAR Project my first year, which included leadership workshops. In those I learned a lot of very valuable skills for communication and taking on more leadership roles. I also was an orientation leader on the orientation team, the group of students who plan orientation for the incoming class. It was so much fun getting to organize all the activities that I had enjoyed as a first-year! I also worked in the Admissions Office and had a fantastic time and made some incredible friends!

Clubs & Organizations: Learn more about Student Clubs & Organizations

Student Employment: Learn more about working on campus

What's Next?

A Year in Spain

I am taking the year to work on my Spanish while living in Madrid for the school year. I will be teaching English in primary school, teaching private lessons, and also working an internship with an NGO.