With another successful commencement behind us, recent High Point University graduates are preparing to commence prestigious career paths around the world at Fortune 500 companies, international service programs, public school systems, top-tier law, medical and graduate school programs, and many other esteemed organizations thanks to their journey at HPU. Here’s a glimpse of one extraordinary senior from the Class of 2015:
Name: Alicia Miller
Hometown: Tiffin, Ohio
Major: Miller graduated with a B.A. in Studio Art and Spanish Education on May 9.
Post-graduation plans: Miller accepted a position with Teach for America as a middle school or high school mathematics teacher in Miami-Dade county, Florida – the fifth largest school district in America. “There is a huge need there for great teachers and I feel honored to have gone through an intensive interview process and chosen as a TFA teacher. I would have sought employment as a Spanish teacher in the Miami area regardless, but I feel very strongly about the visions of the program. I also look forward to using my Spanish with the large Spanish-speaking population in Miami.”
How HPU helped you get there: “My education classes at HPU definitely gave me a clear view as to what education should look like in the 21st century and placed me in classes of all grades and in at-risk schools starting the first semester of my freshman year. It has given me more experience than most education majors at other universities, and was one of the reasons I chose High Point University. I knew I wanted to work with diverse students when I graduated high school – my high school was the only public high school in a small farm town with less than 18,000 people. I didn’t get a lot of diverse experiences there and knew I wanted to change that.”
Most impactful mentor at HPU: “Dr. Claudia Femenias. Officially she is my my advisor, teacher and mentor; unofficially she is the woman I emulate. My freshman year I took a conversation course with her on Hispanic Topics. I found out that she was leading a Maymester to Guatemala that summer and I saved up to go abroad. I caught a bug in Guatemala, the travel bug, and Dr. Femenias as my advisor helped me to find a way to double major and travel abroad two more times in my four years at HPU. She is also the professor that has written me more letters of recommendation than I can count as I feel out all sorts of future paths, including the Peace Corps and Teach for America.”
Most impactful moment at HPU: “Dr. Femenias is the common denominator in the wonderful trail of events that connect my amazing experiences at HPU. Dr. Femenias, for one of her classes my sophomore year, offered extra credit to go to a speaker that HPU was hosting. She was a professional artist from Buenos Aires, Argentina. She was presenting in Spanish with Professor Nuñez translating. I went and was absolutely intrigued by the presentation since it was a hybrid of my two passions: Spanish and art. A year later when I was talking with my advisor, Dr. Femenias, and I was looking for a completely immersive Spanish experience, I decided on Buenos Aires, Argentina. Long story short, Dr. Femenias asked me if I remembered Fernanda Piamonti, the artist that came to speak last year. I did, and she ended up being my host mother. I lived in her art studio for six months while studying Spanish in Argentina, the dream living situation.”
Advice for underclassmen: “Get to know your professors. Whenever someone asks me the best part about HPU, my answer, without hesitation, is always the professors. High Point University’s greatest available resource is the professors. Talk to them, collaborate with them, open yourself up to them. They have all helped shaped the open-minded individual I am today.”
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