While working on her Studio Art degree, Mel was also completing the teacher training program in the Education Department at Carleton. She intended to teach high school art classes in the public schools. However, when she was assigned to student teach at South High School (Minneapolis) in a ceramics classroom, she was captivated as much by the material as she was by the students.
During the first few years after student teaching, Mel continued to seek opportunities to improve her competence with both students and with clay. For seven years she worked in the outdoor industry as an educator and guide, traveling and leading trips all over the United States and South America. While not in the field, Mel spent any time she could in community ceramic centers. Finally, after realizing that the best teachers tend to also be very committed to their art practice, she left the outdoor industry and began her life as a working artist.
From 2003 to 2005, Mel served as apprentice for two potters in Northern California. She has since been an artist in residence at the Archie Bray Foundation for Ceramic Arts in Montana and Medalta International in Alberta, Canada. In June 2011 she received her MFA from the University of Minnesota. She currently works from her studio in Helena, MT.