Lakota Graduate Takes Next Step to Liberia
June 23,, 2014 - By Sue Kiesewetter - Cincinnati.com
WEST CHESTER TWP. – Kim Miller’s ideal job would be working as a professional volunteer.
But the 2010 Lakota West and recent Ohio State University graduate knows that isn’t practical.
So instead she will spend the next two years as a Peace Corps volunteer teaching math in Liberia, Africa.
“I’m very nervous about the traveling process, I haven’t traveled that much around the world,” Miller said before leaving for three months of training.
“I’m not nervous about assimilating into the culture or the language – the national language in Liberia is English.”
To prepare for her trip she read a few books – including one on Liberian slang. She also read up on the country’s civil war, which ended about 10 years ago.
While a student at OSU, Miller spent her time volunteering after classes by teaching math to Somalian immigrants at the Bridge Community Center in Columbus.
It’s not the only volunteer work the 22-year-old West Chester Township woman has done. She went to Louisiana after her freshman year to volunteer with the Fuller Center Disaster Rebuilders, a nonprofit group similar to Habitat for Humanity.
The following summer Miller was part of the Bike to Build group that rode across the country, from Providence, Rhode Island, to San Francisco. The nonprofit raises funds for and awareness about affordable housing projects.
“I think it (volunteer work) started when I was little. My dad worked at General Electric and spent his volunteer days working at the Freestore Foodbank,” Miller said. “I spend my time helping in the little ways I can.”
Miller said she benefits as much from her volunteer work as she helps.
“I learn a lot from people,” she said. “I ask about their life stories. Going to Louisiana sparked the volunteer spirit in me (again).”
Upon her return to the United States in two years Miller said she wants to go to graduate school. She plans to get a master’s degree in public administration, public health or get a teaching license.
While an undergraduate Miller switched her major from hospitality to public affairs, nonprofit management. She received the award for Best Undergraduate Policy Management Paper from the John Glenn School of Public Affairs, for her project “The Grocery Gap: Food Access and Obesity in New Orleans, Louisiana.”
“I’m interested in pursuing a career in education. I’m cut out to be a teacher,” she said.