Joseph Miller (Class of 2018)

  • photo of Joseph Millerjunior Biology major with a Premedical Studies co-major
  • minor in Ethics
  • from Circleville, OH
  • conducts research on nanoparticles and rotavirus proteins
  • member of the Scholar Leader Community and Phi Delta Epsilon International Medical Fraternity

I've been given many opportunities at Miami that have allowed me to adjust well to positions that I would've felt uncomfortable and undeserving in before. You'll get out of your Miami experience what you put into it, so if you want to have an awesome time at Miami, network with professors and other students. You'll be building relationships that you'll cherish forever!

Why Miami?

"I originally looked at Miami because I had heard that the academics were rigorous, with a higher than average acceptance into medical school. When I visited the campus and interacted with some of the students, I immediately knew that it was the right choice for me.

"My first year at Miami was an adjustment year as I got used to the organization and speed of the classes. Because I was already planning to study biology with a pre-­medical focus, I immediately had a feeling of belonging within the community, which has only grown since then. I also have learned to deeply appreciate the helpful and dedicated Miami faculty, not only in my majors but throughout all my classes."

Best Miami Experiences

"My experiences at Miami have influenced me and changed my life by allowing me to develop my interpersonal skills with a wide array of students and faculty. Among the best of these experiences has been participating in the Scholar Leader Community in the Harry T. Wilks Leadership Institute here on campus. This is a community of students that is focused on enriching their leadership skills, and I recommend it as an amazing opportunity for all students.

"I've also been fortunate to get involved in undergraduate research as a sophomore in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry with Jonathan Scaffidi. It's been so interesting that I plan to continue with this project, which is focused on attaching nanoparticles to different solid states such as glass, until I graduate.

enlarged photo of Joseph Miller and friend"Being a member of Phi Delta Epsilon (PhiDE) Medical Fraternity has also proven to be an invaluable resource. With this organization, I have been given the opportunity to communicate with more advanced pre-med students about my questions regarding the pre-medical path. I've also participated in banana suture clinics, listened to many visiting doctors speak about their specialties and their advice for medical careers, participated in events to raise money for Cincinnati's Children's Miracle Network, and formed relationships with PhiDE alums who are practicing physicians. All in all, PhiDE has helped me feel very prepared for the next step of my career, and know I have what I need to excel!

"Perhaps most important of all, however, are experiences related to my preparation for medical school. The faculty and staff at the Mallory­-Wilson Center for Healthcare Education, particularly David Pennock and Robert Balfour, have made a huge impact on my Miami experience. They have been there for all my questions to help guide me through the pre-­med track."

Miami and Liberal Arts Education

"An advantage to being a liberal arts major is having access to an expanded knowledge base that allows you to communicate with other individuals more effectively and gain a basic understanding of many other topics.

"I love that most of my classes build on each other and that I get to be in the same science classes as other biology/pre-­med students that I lived with freshman year. It has definitely helped with learning the material and making the major much more fun. The collaboration that occurs between me and other biology majors helps prepare us for our future because we often think about topics in different ways. I have been shown other methods to work out problems and other issues. This is something that will continue throughout my professional career.

"I've taken all sorts of other classes that have influenced my life. I had an organic chemistry course that was difficult, but it made me much more confident in my ability to get through classes that seem very intimidating at first. I've also enjoyed my philosophy courses, which have allowed me to develop a skeptical sort of mentality and to question, with a broader mindset, a lot of issues that arise in our society.

"Miami's liberal arts options have allowed me to pick up an Ethics minor as well. I have thoroughly loved all of the courses that I have taken for the minor thus far!"

Immersive Research and Shadowing

"Research opportunities, along with my involvement in the Scholar Leader Community and my fraternity, have really helped me develop as a leader and scholar. I started participating in chemistry research at the beginning of my sophomore year under Jonathan Scaffidi. Getting involved was pretty simple: I looked through the faculty pages, found a research project that sounded interesting to me, and contacted the professor.

enlarged photo of Jospeh Miller in the lab"The research project had been started by a previous student in Professor Scaffidi's lab. After learning about the specific chemical reactions and procedures for the study, I spent the rest of the year working on attaching nanoparticles to different solid states, such as glass.

"With this project, I learned how to utilize UV-Vis spectroscopy to observe the wavelength of light that the nanoparticles absorbed and dynamic light scattering to determine the size of the nanoparticles. I also had a lot of practice preparing and presenting my week-to-week lab results in detail to the other research students.

"I also participated in a summer internship position that I acquired through the Mallory-Wilson Center. I worked under a practicing surgeon and Miami alum, Dr. Jeffrey Hazey at Ohio State University, who was doing patient quality research aimed at determining the outcomes of hernia repair surgeries after a period of time. I shadowed him throughout the summer, in both clinical and research settings. Because I'm planning on being a physician, I feel my internship has helped me understand more about some of the logistics behind performing research that involves human subjects.

"Overall, these experiences have enhanced my love of bench science. I really enjoy doing research independently and attempting to solve problems on my own. In fact, after I graduate from Miami, I'm considering pursuing an MD/PhD degree because I've enjoyed these research and internship experiences so much."

Advice to Students

"One of my strongest recommendations to students is to form relationships with the faculty. The professors and TAs [teaching assistants] are all there to help, and they're more than willing to take the time to explain concepts. If you're really passionate about a certain subject or class, you should definitely pursue it.

"Once you figure out what you're passionate about, look through the research projects on the faculty websites and find projects that interest you. It doesn't even have to be research, of course! Work with the study abroad advisors and always be sure to build relationships on campus—those can lead to internships and other opportunities.

"I've been given many opportunities at Miami that have allowed me to adjust well to positions that I would've felt uncomfortable and undeserving in before. You'll get out of your Miami experience what you put into it, so if you want to have an awesome time at Miami, network with professors and other students. You'll be building relationships that you'll cherish forever!"

[September 2016]