Today’s most talented students have a multitude of interests. They’re exploring the arts, competing in athletics, and serving their communities, while at the same time pursuing degrees, conducting research, and building career skills through internships, externships, and mentorship opportunities.
Gettysburg College provides numerous avenues to satisfy the passions and intellectual curiosity of active students like Joe Miller ’13, a standout sociology major who aspires to get the most out of his undergraduate education.
Miller is as involved as it gets. He has served as a resident assistant, a student worker for the Office of Institutional Analysis, and as a resource for the President’s Office to examine the intellectual climate of the College for first-year students. But it was the Center for Public Service (CPS) that initially attracted Miller to attend Gettysburg.
“I knew I would want to continue service in my college experience,” said Miller, winner of the Zeta Phi Beta service award in spring 2013. “Having a well-established outlet like the Center for Public Service was very important to me.”
As a CPS immersion projects coordinator, Miller planned and executed outreach efforts to encourage students to participate in a variety of immersion opportunities, including Garthwait Leadership Center’s immersion projects to Abilene, Kan., and Little Rock, Ark.
Immersion projects introduce students to new communities and cultures. Since enrolling at Gettysburg, Miller has earned a global perspective by working for a week in the Dominican Republic during an immersion trip and a month in Singapore and Thailand performing research as a Mellon Summer Scholar.
“While in Singapore, I performed semi-structured in-depth interviews with Singaporean administrators, teachers, parents of students, and students about their experience with the education system there,” he said. “The resulting project focused on standardized testing as the vehicle for meritocracy in Singapore.”
Miller traveled to Singapore with his mentor, Prof. Voonchin Phua, associate professor of sociology, who conducted his own research while abroad.
“Prof. Phua has easily been the most influential faculty member for me, and that is among a number of faculty members who have incorporated me into meaningful research experiences,” said the Harry C. and Catherine Noffsinger Hartzell Award-winner for outstanding junior student in the Department of Sociology.
“Phua reached out to me at the beginning of my sophomore year to see if I would be interested in working with him on some tourism research. From that point on he has constantly encouraged me to continue refining my research skills, provided opportunities for growth outside of research such as teaching one of his first-year seminars classes and mentoring underclassmen in their first research endeavors, and he has been my advocate for a number of on-campus awards and off-campus employment opportunities.”
Miller, who is also pursuing a teaching certification in elementary education, has benefitted from the lessons of Phua and will one day help his own students achieve their academic dreams.
In his teaching preparation, he taught sixth grade, with an emphasis on social studies and science, at Gettysburg Area Middle School. Miller also served as a Peer Learning Associate for the Gettysburg Education Department from December 2011 to December 2012. In this role, he generated content for an online community-based learning tool.
“For at least the next four or five years, I intend to be a classroom teacher in an elementary school somewhere. If I really enjoy that, I would love to continue doing that,” Miller said. “Somewhere along the way I may pursue a master’s degree or Ph.D. in sociology or education policy.”
For Miller, Gettysburg College has proven to be the perfect place for him to realize his potential and actively pursue his career goals.
“Not only have I learned the technical knowledge required of any good sociologist, but I have also had educational experiences in a number of other disciplines that have informed the work that I do as a sociologist, and consequently made it much more comprehensive, in my opinion,” said Miller, a presidential scholar. “For the prospective college student who is looking for a character-building liberal arts education, I would say Gettysburg is right for them.”
Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition. Alumni include Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate, and other distinguished scholars. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.
Contact: Mike Baker, assistant director of communications, 717.337.6521.
Posted: Mon, 18 Mar 2013
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