Ashley Miller (Class of 2012)

  • enlarged photo of Ashley Miller in Salzburg, Austriasenior major in International Studies
  • minors in German; Management & Organizations
  • from St. Charles, IL

To those professors that have fielded my inexperienced questions, stayed awake during my mundane group presentations, read (and reread) my papers, and instilled even a fraction of their knowledge in me, I am forever grateful and a changed person.

"I walked into my first college class in August of 2008. I was excited; I was eager; I was incredibly naïve. Introduction to International Studies (ITS 201), a lecture-based intro to the major I'd planned for the next 4 years, marked my first class at Miami. My excitement and eagerness very quickly turned to immense fear. I didn't even know what 'hegemony' meant. To anyone who has had an ITS class, you know how important that word is. I spent the rest of that day, and semester, praying that my professor would not call on me, in fear that my complete naïvety would be exposed to my more globally-aware peers. Each day, I would go home to look up new words, theories, and historical events that I had no prior exposure to, feeling overwhelmed and underprepared.

"Intro to ITS was certainly not the only tough class I faced (Gender and Religion in the Late Antiquity Period was no piece of cake), though none provided quite the shock that that first class did. However, I cannot imagine where I would be without it. My interest in global topics solidified during that fall, and even more importantly, so did my work ethic.

"Being an ITS major has done for me exactly what I believe college should do for any young person: it opened my mind to new ideas and new ways of thinking; it taught me how to write effectively and efficiently; and it gave me the opportunity to learn from some of the most esteemed professionals in their fields, professors I have come to respect and cherish."

Adding a Minor to Complement ITS

"Still unsure of where I planned to go with my life, I added a minor in Management and Organizations. My parents were appeased and I was able to take advantage of the newly constructed Farmer School of Business. Although never my first passion, business came naturally to me and was something I found interesting, in a much more logical sense than most international conflicts.

"To merge my interests, I co-founded the Miami chapter of Nourish International. Throughout the school year, we raise money for a project that we execute during the summer, often in a developing country. The autonomy given to our chapter was, though frightening at first, an incredible learning experience to explore both my international development interests as well as learning firsthand how to run business ventures."

Summer Internships

"The summers before my junior and senior years I interned in Washington, DC. In 2010, I participated in a program at Georgetown University called The Fund for American Studies. This academic and internship program placed me into a fulltime internship with Battelle Memorial Institute, a science and technology firm, as well as 2 classes on the ethical and historical links between business and government.

"During my second summer in DC, I interned with the Atlantic Council, a foreign policy think-tank. Above all else, these internships surprised me in how willing high-level business professionals, academics, and government officials were to talk to and advise me. Perhaps I simply sounded pathetic and lost in my life goals, but, regardless, the people I met were extremely helpful in guiding me towards the person I am now—all I had to do was ask."

Study Abroad and Honors Thesis

"In following with my German language studies, I spent the spring semester of my junior year in Salzburg, Austria. Little is generally known today about the small country that once boasted Mozart and the Hapsburgs. As a result of the inspiring teaching of one of my Austrian professors, I hope to help mediate this lack of knowledge through my senior honors thesis, which will cover the myth of victimization in Austria after World War II, and how this victimization has led to far-right politicians, such as Jörg Haider, being extremely successful in Austria. Although I will likely be cursing myself this March for agreeing to undergo this voluntary writing assignment, it is a topic I am incredibly passionate about and one that I feel needs to be more widely-known. As Mark Twain said, 'History may not repeat itself, but it does rhyme'."

Reflections on Graduation

"This May, I will walk out of my last college class. I expect to walk a bit slower than I did that first day, perhaps weighed down by the burden of the looming real world, but more likely with increased care and precision, greater knowledge, eruditeness, and awareness of my lingering naïvety. I will end my time at Miami with remorse and bit of trepidation. My time in this small Midwestern town has been etched with great friends, inspiring classes, moving speeches, and life-changing experiences.

"However, I am excited for the future. As I move on to my first job as a business analyst for Deloitte Consulting, I hope to take with me all of the lessons I've learned at Miami. The people at this school, as well as the invaluable support of my family, have truly shaped the person I am today.

"To those professors that have fielded my inexperienced questions, stayed awake during my mundane group presentations, read (and reread) my papers, and instilled even a fraction of their knowledge in me, I am forever grateful and a changed person. In fact, as I venture out into the real world, I may even throw 'hegemony' around a bit in everyday conversation."

[October 2011]