Melanie Van der Tuin-Oka is the co-founder and faculty advisor to the student/faculty/staff Writers’ Guild at Leeward Community College, where she has taught writing since 2005. In addition to teaching face-to-face and online creative-writing courses at the Pearl City and Wai’anae campuses, Melanie sponsors the college’s annual Language Arts Division Poetry Contest. Recipient of Hawaii-Pacific-University’s 2009 James M. Vaughan Award for Poetry, Melanie had her work published that year in the Hawaii Pacific Review, and her most recent work has been published in Revisions, the journal of her writers’ guild’s “sister” guild in New York. Melanie emphasizes imagery and reflection in poetry and encourages her students to comb for writing subjects and images in the seemingly small, but deceptively meaningful, details and nuances of their daily lives and personal experiences. Born and raised in Michigan, she holds an MA in English from Wayne State University and a BA in English, Spanish, and Music from Western Michigan University.