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ME student wins returning student award

Dana Miller

Dana Miller (19K JPG)

Dana Miller, a mechanical engineering major, is one of two winners of this year's UW-Madison Outstanding Returning Adult Student Award.

After commuting to Madison every week from Green Bay, and returning to his wife and two children on the weekends, Miller looks forward to working in the field of machine design.

"I've always enjoyed the technical world," Miller says, "but I was a less-than-stellar student in high school, despite my mother's constant reminding that I should get better grades."

But it's his mother's constant encouragement that has kept him going. "She has always said, 'You're never too old to learn,' and I've remembered that," Miller notes. Neither of his parents completed college.

After high school, Miller, who grew up in Neopit on the Menominee Indian Reservation, joined the U.S. Navy and trained as an electronics technician. He served nine years and, by the end, was supervising 15 people who maintained more than 2,000 pieces of equipment. Miller also was a staff member at the Navy's Electronics Technician School. Upon release, he enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserves.

"The Navy taught me discipline. It also gave me the core values of honor, courage and commitment that I still live by today. Without my time in the military, I may have never developed the discipline to accomplish what I have today," he says.

Miller's road to his bachelor's degree has been a long one. While employed in Green Bay at a paper products company, he discovered that he preferred mechanical equipment to electronics. This change in interests spurred him to enroll in UW-Green Bay's pre-engineering program as a part-time student.

"My son and daughter barely remember a day when I wasn't a student," Miller says. "They don't like it that I'm not home with them most of the time."

While at the College of Engineering, Miller did more than study. He also became active in the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, eventually serving as co-president. In this role, he was involved in the Oneida Nation College Fair and has coordinated a science and engineering career event for Kimberly-Clark Corp., Menominee Indian High School and Oneida Nation High School.

Miller is also involved in increasing the percentage and the matriculation rate of American Indian and Alaskan Native students on campus. In April he helped plan the AISES Student Retreat Weekend, which provided team-building activities for next year's prospective incoming freshmen, and opportunities to make connections with faculty and staff.

He received the Student Organization Office's "Excellence in Student Organization Leadership" award last December and has received the Harvey Meyerhoff award for Undergraduate Excellence.


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Date last modified: Wednesday, 09-Jul-2003 16:28:00 CDT
Date created: 09-Jul-2003

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