Amazing Students Profiles

Yael Miller

Yael Miller

Researching global issues abroad is not new for senior Yael Miller who has already traveled to Israel, Turkey and Egypt during her time at UGA. She also spent a year in Beer Sheva, Israel attending Ben Gurion University in 2005 and most recently studied Arabic and Islam in Morocco in May 2007. She received a Courts Scholarship from UGA’s Honors Program for the Moroccan trip. As a member of Roosevelt@UGA, a student-run think tank that delves into current national and international topics, Miller co-wrote a paper on the reconstruction of Lebanon with fellow member Jonathan Pride. She presented that paper, along with another paper she wrote about two Egyptian novels, at the spring 2007 undergraduate research symposium sponsored by UGA’s Center for Undergraduate Opportunities. She received the National Security Education Program Boren Scholarship and studied Arabic and Jordanian dialect at the University of Jordan this past fall. After graduation, she wants to learn Spanish and travel to South America.


Marietta, Ga.

High School:

Walton High School

Degree objective:

A.B. in international affairs

Expected graduation:

Spring 2008

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:

UGA has provided me with the opportunity to truly focus my studies on the Middle East through study abroad and research opportunities. Through the Office of International Education, I was awarded the Elizabeth Ann Schaefer Scholarship and a STARS stipend to study abroad at Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva, Israel for the 2004-2005 academic year. In Israel, I focused on Middle Eastern studies and politics and also worked at the Centre for the Study of European Politics and Culture, where I learned about Israel and Middle Eastern relations with Europe. After I returned, I became an active member of the Roosevelt Institution, a student-led think tank, through which I co-wrote a paper on U.S. involvement in the reconstruction of Lebanon, emphasizing the importance of a public works or civil service program. Through the Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities, I was able to present both my Roosevelt Paper and another research paper on Egyptian Literature during the Nasser and Sadat periods. I was awarded the Courts Scholarship to study Arabic and Islam in Morocco in May 2007. During the same summer, I was awarded the National Security Education Program Scholarship to study Arabic in Amman, Jordan for the Fall 2007 semester.

I chose to attend UGA because…

…I knew I wanted a university that would allow me many opportunities for growth. Because UGA provides its students with so many choices, in terms of courses, degrees and extracurricular activities, I was positive that I would be able to find my niche. Every moment I spend at UGA gives me a new activity. I even wrote a travel column about my time in Amman for the Red and Black!

My favorite things to do on campus are…

…attend one the many cultural events on campus. There is always something going on—a film festival, a concert or a lecture. I love going to one of the many film screenings, especially those with speakers afterwards. I’ve gotten to meet directors of Israeli documentaries, watch German movies with German students, and, of course, see independent films that I probably would have never had the opportunity to see otherwise.

When I have free time, I like…

…to have people over for dinner. I love to cook, and I truly believe that you can have the best conversations with people over food at someone’s home. The very idea of a home-cooked meal evokes feelings of nostalgia and warmth, and people really do open up over food. Plus, I love being able to try out new recipes!

The craziest thing I’ve done is…

…decide to travel to Petra, Jordan. While I was abroad in Israel, a friend and I had been wavering over whether we would take a trip together one weekend. The night before, the trip to Eilat, Israel, a city in the South of Israel, quickly evolved into a trip to Petra, Jordan—one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. A few hours later, my friend and I took a bus, and then a cab, to Petra, with little to no understanding of the language or culture of Jordan. It turned out to be one of the best trips I have ever taken. I got to see one of the most impressive places I have seen in my life, and as I sat in a cafe being tutored in colloquial Arabic by the Egyptian cafe owner, I thought to myself, “Wow. And I almost didn’t go.”

My favorite place to study is…

…the Main Library. It’s quiet, peaceful, and has ample room, so I feel really comfortable. Plus, if I get hungry, downtown is a short walk away!

My favorite professor is…

…If I’d have to choose, I’d say Dr. Allen, Dr. Sullivan, and Dr. Bloom, all from the International Affairs department. Dr. Allen has a special ability to bring out the best in his students. He is supportive and warm, and he truly helps you focus and think about deep issues that concern our world today. Instead of using theories alone, Dr. Allen really helps you think logically and comprehensively about subjects. Dr. Sullivan really wants her students to explore the “how” and “why” of International politics. She takes “big issues” and breaks them down into easier, understandable “bits” and then works with her students intensively. Dr. Bloom helps her students focus through pertinent and interesting class sessions that really get to the crux of an issue—and she is willing to do anything to help her students succeed!

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

…my sister and her family. My sister is quite a bit older than me, but we are still very close. She lives in Switzerland with her husband and three absolutely wonderful girls. She works as an English teacher there. Because I see her only occasionally (once or maybe twice a year), I would love to spend an afternoon with her family doing anything—even if it just sitting and drinking tea!

If I knew I could not fail, I would…

…solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It’s a lofty goal, I know, but after I have lived and traveled in so much of the region, I would like nothing more than to solve the incredibly complicated conflict. It seems tragic to me that two groups of people who have so much in common should be embroiled in such a terrible situation.

After graduation, I plan to…

…learn a new language. I desperately want to travel to South America, and I would like to learn Spanish. Learning a new language is one of the most challenging and rewarding things I think a person can do (and it also provides hours of hilarious “whoops” stories)! I would also like to return to the Middle East to continue studying my Arabic. I am determined to master the Arabic Language!

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…

…moving into my freshman dorm at Myers Hall. I was nervous, anxious, terrified, and happy that I was going to study at UGA. I had those typical freshman fears, but I soon realized they were not worth my energy. The day of my arrival, I had a note on my door from my neighbor saying “welcome.” I met a great roommate, and as I picked up my textbooks, I realized, “I’m in college!”