By Kelly Vaughan ’17
Social Media Coordinator
Regardless of whether you are part of the Class of 2017, 2018, 2019, or 2020, most likely you have met our Senior in the Spotlight, Ryan Miller ’17. If you haven’t met him, you have definitely heard his name. Ryan Miller currently serves as the President of the Student Government Association (SGA), has been a leader of the pre-orientation program Quest for three years, is a tour guide for the Admissions Office, and is passionate about his Political Science and Chinese language studies.
Originally from Quincy, MA, Miller immersed himself in the campus community from the start, by participating in Quest, a four or 10-day hike through the Appalachian Mountain Trail for incoming first-year students. Miller told The Tripod that Quest has been one of his most meaningful experiences during his past three years at Trinity, and he especially has enjoyed seeing previous Quest participants become leaders of the program, such as Chloe White ’18 and Stew Williams ’18. When asked what it is like being a leader of Quest rather than a participant, Miller reflected, “It’s a totally different experience. I like it a lot more because you get to be the one asking the questions, getting to know everyone, and driving the conversation. It’s a cool position to be in because I’m walking with and also truly getting to know a handful of people.” Miller said he loves seeing the students he previously led on Quest thriving in the Trinity community, whether it be “doing research or [being involved] with their respective clubs or going abroad, it’s a really cool thing to see.”
Forming these personal connections with fellow students is a hallmark of Miller’s role in the campus community. As a tour guide, Miller said one of his favorite things is seeing matriculated students on campus that he previously gave tours to. Although it is rare, Miller does “have one story with [junior] Bianca Shea. When she came in the fall, she told me that the one piece of advice she remembers from the tour was that everyone should have a phone case with an ID slot in it and she did it.” Miller said that being a tour guide has “been a lot of fun [and] a lot of good experience. Eddie [Montenegro, Assistant Director of Admissions] has been phenomenal to work with.” Miller also jokes that he is “a pro at the backwards walk. I’ve had people say ‘Oh, do you backwards walk on the Appalachian trail with Quest?’”
Within the academic community, Miller has truly made the most of what Trinity has to offer. Miller said he has been looking forward to writing a thesis since his first year and “think[s] it would be really cool to walk out of college having accomplished a big research project. And that’s something that you’re going to frankly remember 10, 30 years down the line.”
He is currently working on a yearlong thesis for his Political Science major, which is inspired by his experience studying abroad. Miller studied in China and “loved it, [loved] learning about their culture and how people perceive the world there.”
Miller is researching Chinese investment in Africa and will be “doing a comparative study with American investment to see if China’s investment is more beneficial, being a recently developed state, and America’s being one that’s been developed for quite some time now.” Miller says he will be “looking at local attitudes, global perspectives, and physical development in those regions” as sources for his research.
Despite his deep involvement with the campus community, particularly as the current student body president, Miller said he still feels like he is “a freshman at heart.” When asked to reflect upon how he has been able to accomplish so much during three years at Trinity, Miller thought back to his first year on Quest when his leader, who was a senior, “talked to us about different ways to get involved on campus, whether it be joining a club, doing research, running for student government, and that really resonated with me. And I’ve been able to join a lot of clubs and meet a lot of people that really made my experience here. I think I’ve obviously learned a ton in my classes, but I’ve learned some academic, and some social lessons from people here and I encourage freshman now to get involved. It’s very easy to find a new passion. Some of us have more than one.”
With only a year to go, Miller has aspirations for how to make Trinity its best ever, from working with the Bantam Network to serving on the steering committee for Bicentennial planning. As well as arranging a ‘Major Declaration event,’ “so that when [a student] declare[s], they should feel special and accomplished and they should know the community they’re joining.”
By Kelly Vaughan ’17