LEC reflects on the winning attitude and leadership of Emma Miller ’17

Academics,

What happens when a captain, a president, an ambassador and a homecoming queen walk into a room? Meet Emma Miller.

A native of Mentor, Ohio, Miller, 22, is a member of the College’s Class of 2017, having recently graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in special education, intervention specialist – mild to moderate needs.

In her time at Lake Erie, Miller was voted Homecoming Queen, led as captain of the Lake Erie women’s soccer team, served as president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), earned respect on the women’s lacrosse team and represented the College as a student ambassador. In light of her dedication to LEC, it came as no surprise when President Posler awarded Miller with the President’s Award this spring, an honor reserved for a student who personifies the core ideals of the College.

“Emma’s contagious personality and love for the College is evident in every conversation you have with her,” said President Posler in his remarks at Honors Convocation. “In my short time here, it seems she is frequently the instigator and ringleader when fun, school spirit-filled hijinks need to occur. Faculty, staff and her peers have described her as an integral part of this community, and I would agree. She is the ultimate teammate and student and embodies everything that we are here at Lake Erie College.”

A strong leader in all her endeavors, Miller effortlessly channeled the community’s spirit throughout her four years with the Storm. She excelled in her studies in special education, her professors describing her as a particularly gifted teacher who exceeded their expectations in all three areas of assessment: content, pedagogy, and dispositions.

“I watched Emma differentiate instruction in order to meet the needs of students with autism, learning disabilities, cerebral palsy, and emotional and behavioral issues, all in the same classroom,” said Dr. Katie Krammer, associate professor of special education, who served as Miller’s supervisor during her student teaching experience. “In addition to these skills, Emma effortlessly taught high school math, rattling off equations and solving problems without blinking an eye.”

Dr. Krammer continued, “Emma has joy. In fact, she radiates positivity wherever she goes. She cares deeply about her students and they know it. Consequently they respond to her and they want to learn.”

Miller credits her learning experiences, including guest speakers, field trips and real life scenarios, for preparing her to be an exceptional teacher. “I have always been very self-motivated, but the education professors along with others pushed me to strive for more,” she said. “They believed in me. When I didn't get the grade I wanted they made me think deeper.”

Miller’s drive helped her in her student teaching experiences, exemplifying her ability to adapt to the needs of those around her. These skills transferred well as she led the charge in service at the College. As a former member and president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, she raised funds for the Make-A-Wish foundation, created the Water Wars, and brought back the traditional homecoming pep rally. She was also a member of Mortar Board, participated in the Service, Policy and Law Learning Community, and served the local community through her church and in various projects.

From nearby Mentor, Miller’s efforts hit close to home, leading President Posler to call her “a local gem who we are blessed to have as a Lake Erie alumna.” Her proximity to home is not what led her to choose Lake Erie College, however.

“I loved how the soccer team was a family and Lake Erie felt like a family,” she said. After a campus tour, an overnight visit as a recruit, and an education class observation, Miller decided it was the best fit for her.

Miller is thankful for the nurturing environment of administrators and staff at the College who took a personal interest in her wellbeing, helping her shift the focus from any weaknesses she perceived. “My relationships carried me to be a better student, leader and overall person,” she said. “All of my involvements taught me more about the leader I want to be and the person I want to be.”

Recognizing that everyone’s approach to leadership is unique, Miller recommends LEC students experiment with different leadership styles and roles. “Get involved and do things that make you happy. Use the resources and opportunities that Lake Erie gives you,” she said.

As for what’s next for Miller, she hopes to teach in the area and continue her education with a master’s degree. Professors and instructors in the School of Education continue to offer her further opportunities, and she predicts she will contact them for additional guidance in the future.

Lake Erie College offers the flexibility and encouragement students need to lead. With the right mindset, our graduates stretch their abilities beyond the norm. We strive to continue raising the bar so that bright students like Emma Miller can light up the world.

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