Amazing Students

Darby Miller

Darby Miller, a senior majoring in marketing, has accomplished much during her time at UGA. But it’s not the organizations she has worked for or the awards she has received that mean the most to her. She’s most grateful for “all of the unique, inspiring and remarkable people this school has given me.”

Hometown:

Rogers, Arkansas

High School:

Rogers High School

Degree objective:

B.A. in marketing

Expected graduation:

May 2017

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:

“Don’t ask what the world needs, ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” I’ve learned so much in college, but truly finding what drives your passion is the most important. I’ve loved serving this campus through many unique ways. The Student Government Association, UGA Orientation, the Visitors Center, Wesley Foundation and Zeta Tau Alpha will continue to hold a special place in my heart.

Some of my achievements include 2016 Panhellenic Woman of the Year,  2016 Bulldog Vision Award and Presidential Leader of Excellence. However, no title or position can top the reward of friendship. The organizations listed above have provided me with an incredible community … and that is the greatest award of them all.

Current Employment:

The “Happiest Place on Campus” a.k.a. the University of Georgia Visitors Center.

Family Ties to UGA:

I am the first person in my family to attend UGA … but I have converted as many of my friends/family into Dawg fans as possible.

I chose to attend UGA because…

… I took a random college visit my junior year of high school and fell in love! Four years later, I work for the UGA Visitors Center and get to show others what their college experience could look like, regardless of where they go. During every tour, I share with my group that I toured 11 schools (yes, 11), and I was looking for two things — town and tradition. I speak about the authentic feeling and culture of downtown Athens that I instantly fell in love with along with the deep-rooted tradition we have on our campus. But what I reveal to them at the end is that as much as those things matter, the real reason I chose UGA was for the people. And the reason I am still here today is due to all of the unique, inspiring and remarkable people this school has given me.

My favorite things to do on campus are…

… honestly just walking around with the people I love most. Whether that’s sharing coffee with a friend at Jittery Joe’s, giving visitors a tour of UGA or just hanging out on North Campus, our campus is a pretty cool place to be.

When I have free time, I like…

… to share yummy meals with my friends, frolic on North Campus, watch videos of corgis and attempt to read a book.

The craziest thing I've done is…

… scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef! This past winter break, I traveled to Australia with 35 other students through UGA’s Discover Abroad program. We got to see sharks, sea turtles, stingrays, and so much more. There are no words to describe this incredible experience and the people I got to meet along the way.

My favorite place to study is…

It’s a tie between Walker’s Coffee Shop and the sixth floor of the main library. It really depends on my mood or the type of studying I have to get done. Find the spot that works best for you … wherever that may be!

My favorite professor is…

… too hard to pick! I have had so many incredible professors here at UGA that have inspired me through their enthusiasm, passion and selflessness.

However, I believe teachers are not just found in the classroom. I am forever grateful for my Visitors Center and Orientation directors. Both Eric Johnson and Alton Standifer have shown me the capacity to believe in someone and to be remarkable. These two leaders have molded my leadership style and have made my UGA experience exceptional.

If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with…

… all the people who mean the most to me! We would get an enormous amount of burritos and have a picnic on Herty Field. The people in my life have shaped and molded me into the person I am today. Without them, I wouldn’t be me.

If I knew I could not fail, I would…

… open a summer camp out west for kids! Growing up as a “camp-kid,” I’ve experienced the joys that summer camp brings. I want to create a camp that fosters community and growth while creating real friendship. The youth of the world are our future and there is SO much power in their investment. PLUS, I’d get to wear shorts and T-shirts every day … win-win situation in my opinion! And if that didn’t work out, I would love to open my own coffee shop.

If money was not a consideration, I would love to…

… invest in young people with learning and intellectual disabilities. One of my greatest joys here at UGA has been assisting with the creation and implementation of Destination Dawgs. This initiative has brought an Inclusive Post-Secondary Education Program to our school starting spring 2017! From freshman year, clinging onto Jim Thompson’s idea of the program to seeing Jordan, one of our first Destination Dawgs students, receive his acceptance letter, I have never been more proud to be a part of something. Serving as the student government treasurer last year allowed me to see firsthand the power of advocacy.

I am thankful to our executive board for making this a platform priority, to the UGA student body for their endless support in our dream and to The Fanning Institute for never giving up. Without these extraordinary people, Destination Dawgs would not exist. However, there are additional costs associated with IPSE Programs. I would love to invest in this initiative so that every university could have a program that offers ANYBODY the chance to attend the school of their choice and experience the educational/social benefits that college offers.

After graduation, I plan to…

… pursue a career in the marketing world. When I chose marketing as my major, I knew it would be a springboard into a variety of industries and career paths. I got my first taste of the marketing world this summer interning with ESPN in New York City and I want to continue to pursue it post-grad. Beyond the Arch I hope to find a career that merges my passion for people, my spirit for adventure and my desire to continue to grow. The future is uncertain, but I am trusting in the plans that God has in store for me. Overall, I want to maintain my joy for life and bring that wherever life takes me!

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…

… serving as an Orientation leader in the summer of 2015. Orientation opens the gates of possibility for students as they take their first steps on campus. Twelve strangers must come together to embody the camaraderie and the spirit of this great institution. The summer of 2015 changed how I look at every interaction with another person. Orientation was a space for me to serve incoming students through my college experiences, while also growing as an individual. The trials and tribulations I had experienced in college before my summer as an OL all started to make sense. As I was helping others, I was growing as an individual too. I finally began to understand that I could use my experiences to help others through theirs. It was one of the most amazing and empowering realizations of my life. Being your real, authentic and vulnerable self with others opens the doors for them to do the same. When we are the most holistic version of ourselves, we show others that it is OK for them to embrace themselves too. I am forever in debt to this process and all the sweet moments it has given me. My Firework Fives, my professional staff and, most of all, my fellow OL team members will forever be in my heart and will be one of my favorite memories of my time at UGA.

Published Sunday,