School of Social Sciences and International Studies

Jacob Alan Miller, '17

Department of Modern Languages and College of Liberal Arts Outstanding Senior, French
Recognition Year: 

We are proud to announce that the Department of Modern Languages has unanimously chosen Jacob Alan Miller as our Outstanding Senior for 2017. Jacob spent an entire academic year (2015-2016) in Lyon studying abroad with the USAC program, where he developed excellent fluency and cultural competency in French. He is a dual French/International Studies major, and will graduate in August 2017, after Summer Session A.

Jacob is a wonderfully polite and genuine person. He has worked hard to achieve an excellent GPA, and in his humble way, has earned the respect and friendship of his peers and professors. He has served as a TA in Elementary French classes, and is currently a paid French tutor for the Women’s Basketball Team and a Supplemental Instruction Leader for (FR 1020), recruiting many students to the French minor and major by offering extra study sessions to beginning French students. He is appreciated for his gentle guidance and consistently positive attitude.

Jacob’s hobbies include swimming, hanging out with friends, finding adventure, and snapchatting his niece. He currently volunteers at the St. Vincent de Paul shelter in Dayton, and recently signed a 2 ½ year commitment with the Peace Corps. He will be leaving in July for Guinea, Africa, where he will be teaching English in a high school and assisting with other projects that the community wishes to accomplish. He is enthusiastic about the prospect of using his French to help people in need, and is taking FR 3320 Francophone African Culture and Literature course in order to prepare for the experience. After his Peace Corps commitment, he plans to continue his studies in the aims of filming and producing documentaries in post-war countries.

In Jacob’s words:

“My French studies have allowed me to meet more people and connect with them in ways that I wouldn't have been able without knowledge of the French language. I have had the opportunity to see ways of life different from my own and to learn what people from different cultures, countries, and religions experience.  My experience in Lyon taught me that no matter who we are or where we come from, we all want the same things in life.  All human beings want to know that others care about them, and they want to be able to live a happy and fulfilling life.

As a student, the study of French has taught me to think deeper about the meaning of things. Whether reading a comic book or an African story, I am interested in the reason the author wrote it, what experience the author wished to share, and why he or she thought it was important enough to communicate to other people.

I'm really excited about living in Sub-Saharan Africa, and I can’t even begin to imagine my accommodations or new diet. I hope that I will be welcomed by the community and that they will teach me their customs and traditions, and that by being with them I will get to experience a completely different world. At the same time, I'm nervous that I won't be able to do as great as a job as I hope to.  I worry that if a student asks me a question, I won't be able to provide him/her with an answer.

My hero is Frankin D. Roosevelt because even through his problems with polio he was able to persevere and accomplish many outstanding feats. And the quote that defines my life experience is John 13:7 “Jesus replied, ‘You do not understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.’”  I am inspired by this passage because, in my own life, I never really have a plan for what I am doing, I just let things happen and so far I have been given amazing opportunities.


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