Professor Miller’s current EXCEL Scholars are Matt Ryan ’18 and Emily Koenig ’18. Matt is a History major that hopes to go into media production about History, specifically World War II. Emily is a History and Religious Studies double major and hopes to work for the State Department or the Foreign Service focusing on Middle Eastern affairs.
Right now Matt and Emily are assisting Professor Miller with two main projects: the creation and completion of his book on the Battle of Vicksburg during the Civil War, and the transformation of his book Masters of the Air into an HBO miniseries. Matt and Emily assist Professor Miller through various organizational tasks, researching sources for both projects, copy editing the chapters of his latest book, creating and editing citations, and many other important tasks that go into the research process of a historian.
The opportunity to work beside and learn from a professional, publishing historian is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the two and allows them to develop their own skills, particularly their research skills, for their own work as History students.
Dr. Miller’s EXCEL Scholars, Neuroscience, and History major Jason C. Hill ’16 and International Affairs major and Art minor Elizabeth M. Lucy ’15, were proud to present their summer EXCEL research at the annual Lafayette Research Expo in September.
“It has absolutely been the defining experience at Lafayette for me to have the opportunity to work with [Professor Miller].” -Sean Grim ’14
“Dr. Miller has his students work in collaborative teams on projects with real-world applications, which can sometimes end up being used in or for one of his books.
‘I give these kids real assignments,” Dr. Miller explains. “Like, there’s a trial in NYC that I talk about in the book, and it’s the most lavishly sensationalized, publicized trial of the time. So, I have them go over to the library and pull down all the information they can from the New York daily newspapers. They then come in with their own outline of the chapter – I have mine already, but they don’t know that. And sometimes I use some of their outline. I’m not trying to have them help me; I’m trying to teach the students fundamental research skills. It’s a situation where we’re collaborators, and they’re learning a lot about research and writing.’
Dr. Miller also lets his students proofread every chapter of his book independently, catching errors and making suggestions. ‘Hopefully, by the end of the process – and I’m on them all the time – they are prepared for the rumble-tumble world they’re going out to.'”