Wednesday, September 14, 2011
During the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka in 1954, Justice Thurgood Marshall had posed the question, “What is the quality of your intent?”
While Marshall was arguing against racial segregation in American public schools, his question is a fitting one to ask anyone with a purpose or a plan - someone such as Terik Miller '15.
As a freshman General Liberal Arts major in the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), Miller has only just begun his Rider career, but his past achievements and his drive to succeed are quite impressive.
Recently, Miller was recognized as a 2011 recipient of the Herbert Lehman Education Fund Scholarship. The scholarship, created in 1964, is one of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund’s programs envisioned by Marshall as a way to create more access for African Americans to attend college.
“EOP and the scholarship really came together and became a big financial force for me,” said Miller, a first-generation college student. “I received the scholarship because I was a really well-rounded student in high school.”
A resident of Newark, N.J., Miller applied to and attended The Technology High School in the city. There, he enrolled in the telecommunications track, where he learned about phone wires, phone systems and cable. Though he always had an interest in telecommunications, he saw the developed trade as something he could fall back on. Miller had his sights on college.
“Where I came from, many people are not motivated enough to get an education,” he said. “My grandmother, mother and father always expressed to me the importance of furthering my education.”
In addition to excelling in the classroom, Miller immersed himself in extracurricular activities and in his community. He served as president for the school’s National Honor Society chapter and Student Council, and participated in a peer leader program, and Big Brothers Big Sisters. He also took part in various community service projects, such as volunteering at a soup kitchen and painting murals throughout the city.
“As a leader, you always set an example,” he said. “I motivated my peers to work hard. I had a high GPA, but I still had fun. I’ve always been involved in community service. There are things you can do to make a change. Now, some of my friends are involved in the community. There are things you can do to make a change.”
When it came time to apply to colleges, Miller filled out 20 different applications. However, when he visited the Lawrenceville campus for the first time, he was attracted to Rider’s “small campus feel.”
“I really liked how the tour guides made this like your home even though it was not your home yet,” he explained.
So far, Miller is happy with his decision, and he feels well prepared for the upcoming year because of the five-week EOP summer program. Already a member of the Rider Bonner Community Scholars Program, he looks forward to getting more involved at the University. Miller is planning to switch his major to Biology in order to pursue a career in obstetrics and gynecology.
However, Miller also admitted with a smile, “I hope to get through my freshman year, and finish my degree from Rider with the rest of my class of 2015.”
Judging from his previous accomplishments, there’s no question that Miller will succeed. As Marshall also once said, “A man can make what he wants of himself if he truly believes that he must be ready for hard work and many heartbreaks.”