2nd Mile

Dr. Kris Miller - Past Winner

2006

Reason: He has continued to show exemplarily service to the school and students throughout his time serving as an associate professor here.


2005

Reason: I would like to nominate Dr. Kris Miller.  Several of our faculty members here in the Science Department go underappreciated for one reason or another.  However, our faculty has the unique opportunity to impact students in a variety of ways.  Specifically, our professors have the ability to give students a head start in their chosen field through research experiences, assistantships for courses, and connections with other scientists they have met along the way.

Dr. Miller has given me a position to work in his research laboratory at the OU Health Sciences Center this coming Spring.  I am not the first student to be given that opportunity by a long shot.  Countless students have benefited from the position Dr. Miller holds at the Health Sciences Center or from his connections with other scientists there.  Dr. Miller always goes out of his way to make sure students have opportunities like that to help ensure their success in whatever field they may pursue.  His focus is not on himself - rather, it is on the goals of his Students.

Yet, more specifically, Dr. Miller has had a very direct impact on me as an individual.  So, rather than write about what he does for all students, I will focus on what Dr. Miller has done for me as an individual.  Rest assured - I am not the exception but the rule in this case.  There are a ton of teachers who do great things for their students and Dr. Miller is certainly no different.

What makes him a head and shoulders above the rest is the investment he is willing to make in the lives of each of his students.  He doesn’t care about careers (though he certainly assists students with their goals) as much as he does about people.  He doesn’t teach a class of students - he teaches people.  Dr. Miller has not only written me countless letters of recommendation for Medical School, given me a position as a lab assistant for our Human Anatomy Class, and been the most effective teacher in my career thus far, but he has also taken time out of his personal life to make an invest in me as a person.

To say that the man is busy is an understatement of epic proportions.  Yet, whether it be 2 hour conversations about anything in his office, checking up on me while I worked at the OU Health Sciences Center in a lab separate from his this summer, or give me advice about marriage, the practice of medicine, and living a Christian life, Dr. Miller has truly helped shape who I am today.

He makes the choice every day to be a mentor for anyone who might benefit from it.  More than any other faculty member I have encountered, Kris Miller defines Christian Teaching. Sure, he teaches about Biochemistry, Anatomy, and Physiology, but the most important contribution he makes in the lives of students comes when he teaches about Christian living.  The conflict between Science and Religion is one of the hardest things for a young scientist to deal with - Dr. Miller exemplifies a way to meld faith and science into one lifestyle.  Indeed, that is no small task.

People outside our chosen field cannot understand how difficult it can be for a teenager to be confronted with the difficult questions about those two realms.  Dr. Miller serves as a mentor through that process and helps students come to grips with the issues they face during this stage of their life.  He isn’t pushy nor does he dictate a given worldview and claim it as truth.  Rather, he helps students ask the right questions so that they can come to grips with both of their worlds and find a way to bring them into harmony with one another - on their terms… not his.  That applies to more than science and religion - it applies to politics, friendships, school, and any other issue that a student might come to him with.

Moreover, he teaches about critical thinking in ALL areas of life - the scope of his influence is not limited to the academic arena.  When I got the chance to respond to this letter, I did it immediately.  I have never met a more deserving professor for this award than Dr. Kris Miller - I can only hope that his life-changing contributions will not go unnoticed.