As Mother Graduates with MFA, Daughter’s MSU Education Just Begins

Rebecca Casement and Allison Miller are a dynamic mother-daughter duo who share a mutual love of art, a passion they both have chosen to pursue at Michigan State University in the Department of Art, Art History, and Design

While Casement wraps up her third year of her master’s degree program, earning her MFA in May, Miller, her daughter, is finishing her freshman year as a Graphic Design major.

“It has been an amazing journey to get to this point,” Casement said. “It’s been challenging in many ways, but ultimately very rewarding. I am excited to see where the next chapter takes me, and Allison for that matter. She is just starting out and is already doing really fantastic work!    

It has been an amazing journey to get to this point. It’s been challenging in many ways, but ultimately very rewarding. I am excited to see where the next chapter takes me, and Allison for that matter. She is just starting out and is already doing really fantastic work! 


Casement also earned her BFA in Studio Art from MSU. She chose to stay at Michigan State University to pursue her MFA because of the people she’d have the opportunity to work with. “Professors Paul Kotula and Jae Won Lee have not only pushed me to be innovative and thoughtful in my work,” she said, “but have also been unyielding in their support and encouragement.”

For Miller, she has wanted to attend MSU ever since she was in middle school, but what solidified her decision to come here was knowing she would have the opportunity to visit her mother on campus. Their mutual love of art and the time they have shared at MSU has only strengthened their bond. 

“Allison would often stop in and work on her art in my studio while I was there,” Casement said, “and I feel like this has given me the opportunity to see her as an independent artist and woman.”

Rebecca Casement (left) and her daughter Allison Miller (right)

As their bond has deepened, Casement and Miller also continue to inspire one another.

“She’s my mom. I’ve looked up to her my entire life,” Miller said. “She has always and still does inspire me to fight for what I want in life. She’s shown me how to be a kind, outstanding woman, while still kicking butt.”

For Casement, she says she is inspired by her daughter’s confidence and drive. “She doesn’t take no for an answer. I love that she is a strong woman who knows what she wants and is willing to work hard to get it.”

art work of blue and white colors on a piece of paper forming images
Alison Miller’s artwork

Casement is a visual artist whose work focuses on ceramics and sculpture that explores the theme of individual and societal responses to traumatic experiences. While Miller would like to someday use her Graphic Design education to design gift cards.

“Every time I’m at a restaurant or store, I always look at the different gift cards and I love the creativity in them,” Miller said. “However, I’m open to any type of job that helps me get my art into the world and also gives other people joy.”

With two different artistic backgrounds and interests, Casement and Miller continually learn from one another.

“Allison’s photography has taught me to be more playful and experimental in my approach,” Casement said. “She has a confidence in color combinations that I don’t have.

a women with a black long sleeve and brown hair taking a photo in front of her art work
Rebecca Casement

Miller also has learned much artistically from her mom, whose work has appeared in the Tangent Gallery in Detroit as well as the Buckham Gallery in Flint and who was the Glen Arbor Arts Center Artist in Residence in 2019.

“I’ve learned [from my mom] to be more outside of the box with my art,” Miller said. “I’ve been able to understand to really push certain elements to their limits and how to use that to my advantage.”

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, Casement’s art was installed at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum as part of the annual MFA Exhibition. This work can now be viewed online through the 2020 MFA Exhibition PDF and the 2020 MFA Exhibition Brochure

After graduation, Casement plans to continue to work on artistic projects with the aim of making art more accessible to the public. While Miller looks forward to her sophomore year at MSU.

Rebecca Casement’s artwork

“I absolutely love MSU,” Miller said. “I’ve met some incredible people that have made my time here so much fun, including my best friend. She is also a Graphic Design major, so we are helping each other out a lot.”

Casement is looking forward to celebrating her MFA in a very low key and quiet way. 

“I’ve been going non-stop for nine years, so just enjoying great food and relaxing with the people I love is the perfect celebration,” she said. “My advice to Allison and other MSU students just starting out is to work hard, but not plan everything out ahead. Let some of it evolve as you go. Not just art, but life. This is not where I thought I would be 10 years ago and I am so glad that I let it evolve into this. It’s far more and far better than I could have imagined.”

(Top Image: Rebecca Casement’s MFA Exhibition piece, titled “Reclamations,” displayed at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum)