Michael Miller has not yet started the second year of his MSW program, but is already looking to his next academic venture. “I want to get a PhD. I want to teach, I want to do research,” he said.
Miller is definitely on the path to accomplish those goals. As president of the Pride in Practice student group, Miller has put together a number of educational programs for his peers at New York University and the larger community on relevant issues pertaining to the LGBT community, such as police-biased and violent crime against queer people of color. This summer, instead of taking a break from his required course load, Miller is running the Queer Theory Workgroup. Last spring he organized the group of about 25 students, social work professionals and instructors, and community members. They meet weekly for nine weeks to discuss and learn queer theory, critical race theory, and post-colonialism, and how these theories relate to current LGBT community issues. Miller created the workgroup to explore his question: How do we take theory and infuse it into the work that we do?
Miller’s passion for academia and his intellectual curiosity are balanced by a lengthy pre-Silver School career working with homeless and queer youth. Miller made this change after focusing on Shakespearian theater early in college.
Miller said, “I feel I was lucky to have beaten the odds with my family. So I wanted to help other youth do the same.” More recently, he created and implemented a peer-education program for young LGBT sex workers.
One can easily see how Miller’s enthusiasm and boundless energy would serve him well in a doctoral program. Currently, he is testing the waters of research by volunteering on a project with Connect To Protect, exploring HIV prevention with young men of color. He plans to apply to PhD programs in the fall but isn’t too anxious about which program accepts him. “I’m just going to see where the universe takes me.”