One of the most well-rounded and intelligent young women apart of the Gustavus community is Carly Miller. She is a junior Biochemistry major and Spanish minor from Brainerd, Minnesota.
The reason why she chose to come here was because she primarily wanted to attend a private liberal arts college that reflected the strong community in her hometown. Out of all the colleges she toured, she thought Gustavus stood out for this particular reason. For the last few years, Miller has been thankful for all the great opportunities offered here.
In high school, Miller greatly enjoyed her Chemistry and Biology classes, so she was interested in doing something related to the sciences. “I realized that what I really enjoyed was the Chemistry that goes on within the body, and within Biological systems, so Biochemistry was a perfect fit for me. I want to go to medical school eventually, so it’s also a good foundation going into that as well,” Miller said.
In regards to her passion for Spanish, she previously travelled to Peru in high school which was a once in a lifetime opportunity for her. Spanish was something she wanted to continue with because she had developed a strong foundation for the language. In fact, she is planning to study abroad this upcoming spring in Costa Rica. Miller is looking forward to is interacting with her host family while immersing herself within the culture and improving her Spanish-speaking skills. In addition, she hopes to intern at a hospital there, so she can see first-hand how the healthcare system operates in a different country.
Here at Gustavus, Miller is a highly ambitious member of multiple successful student organizations. She is a Gustie Greeter and she enjoys participating in orientation weekend, meeting incoming first-years and helping them navigate college life as they first begin. “As a first year, I had a really amazing Greeter, and I overall had a good experience transitioning to college, so I knew that I wanted other incoming students to have that same great experience. I really value connecting with other people by being a role model that they can turn to whenever they have a question,” Miller said.
Being apart of this group has also allowed her to receive training in diversity inclusion which she might not otherwise have. Miller values giving back to the Gustavus community, and making sure that first-years feel like they are welcome in this entirely new environment. She is also a Coordinator for the Big Partner Little Partner program, where she practices her leadership by planning events and communicating with students.
Aside from building the substantial relationship with the same Little Partner for three years, she appreciates seeing the mentoring relationships that have flourished as a result of being in the organization. “In Big Partner, Little Partner, I have definitely learned to be more patient when working with my little partner…I think my little partner really helps me to be more creative and silly…she lets me be a little less serious once a week which is nice,” Miller said.
She has carried her mentoring qualities over to her work as a Biology and Spanish tutor, also. Because she has tutored in wide range of areas, she has a versatile perspective on how to help students who need extra help in their classes. She finds personal fulfillment in providing assistance to her peers if they are struggling with a concept when she is able to explain something, and it finally clicks for them. It is amazing to witness the academic growth once they are able to understand a difficult topic.
Even though this is only a few hours in her week, it is a rewarding experience for her. Miller also spends time in the music department as a flutist in the Gustavus Wind Orchestra. Last January, they toured Sweden and Norway where she was able to share marvelous musical memories her peers. She appreciates that she can devote her time to music even though she is not majoring in it.
One of her favorite annual events coming up next week is the Festival of St. Lucia. “That was so much fun to be apart of, and to be on the Court with some really amazing women who are talented leaders. It made me realize how Gusties value all of the important aspects, and expect everyone on the campus to support each other because they are willing to help one another out,” Miller said. It reminded her of the long-lasting connections she has established with both faculty and students which will last a lifetime.
While she has taken full advantage of what is offered at the school, she believes there is always something that is yet to be explored. After she studies abroad next year, she hopes to come back with a fresh set of eyes where she can share astonishing insights that will benefit our understanding of the world. Miller’s end goal after Gustavus is to eventually become a physician. She firmly believes that a liberal arts perspective has allowed her to be a more well-rounded person.
This includes conducting scientific research in an intimate setting which she might not have been able to do at a larger institution.
The knowledge developed from her involvements have caused her to remain balanced, and focused on the values that make her a great leader. Miller is most excited that her younger sister will be following in her footsteps as she will be a first-year at Gustavus next fall.
“I hope that she and all of the other first years are able to find what they are most passionate about. Sometimes it takes a little time to figure out which organization to be involved in, and it’s okay to explore different things to narrow down to what you’re really interested in. Gustavus might not feel like home right away. It might take a little time; it’s different for everyone, but I hope that eventually they’ll all be able to find their place here and feel at home,” Miller said.