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"I am a first-generation college student and a second-generation geek. I grew up obsessed with science fiction and was delighted when I discovered (during my tutorial at Stanford’s BOSP program in Oxford) that I could approach these narratives with the same critical care and consideration that is given to Shakespeare and Austen, Morrison and Twain. In my work, I explore what science fiction worlds, whether textual or visual, tell us about the more mundane (though often no less wondrous or terrible) worlds in which they were written, and what they tell us about ourselves.
"After graduating from Stanford in 1996, I went to UC Santa Barbara where I completed a PhD in English. My dissertation ranged from Frankenstein to The Matrix, examining the ways in which specific technological developments across the centuries force us to reconsider the nature of what it means to be human.
"My interests include contemporary American literature, cultural studies, film theory, new media studies, short fiction, graphic narratives, video games, and children’s and young adult literature. I have presented at ComicCon and WorldCon to audiences composed of academics, cosplayers, cosplaying academics, and academic cosplayers. I have recently presented papers on Westworld, Stranger Things, and Brian K. Vaughan’s Paper Girls.
"I’m currently a Lead Undergraduate Advising Director with an office in FloMo. I help students navigate Stanford and answer questions about life, the university, and everything."
Melissa Stevenson (Stanford Class of '96) is a Lead Undergraduate Advising Director in the office of Academic Advising at Stanford, where she serves as an academic advisor for undergraduates. Her advising conversations with students include academic planning, exploring interests, identifying goals, choosing majors, assessing academic progress, connecting with faculty, enhancing study habits and other academic skills, finding opportunities for research and service, applying for grants and fellowships, navigating university requirements and policies, and other aspects of students' academic endeavors. As the first in her family to attend a four-year college, Melissa is particularly sensitive to the concerns of other first gen students.Prior to joining Academic Advising in 2011, Melissa was a teaching fellow in the Introduction to the Humanities Program here at Stanford where she served as a teaching fellow for classes like World History of Science, Humans & Machines, and Technological Visions of Utopia. She has also designed and taught courses at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of California Santa Barbara.Melissa earned her PhD in English from the University of California Santa Barbara in 2005. Her dissertation "Conversations with Ghosts and Machines: Encounters with Technology & the (Re)definition of the Human in 20th Century Science Fiction" explored evolving definitions of the human through the lens of Science Fiction Literature and Film.While the concern of Melissa's dissertation is science fiction, her professional interests and teaching experience include contemporary American literature, cultural studies, film theory, new media studies, short fiction, graphic narratives, and children’s and young adult literature.