UO’s Souvanny Miller selected for Hollings Scholarship

EUGENE, Ore. – (April 6, 2012) – University of Oregon sophomore Souvanny Miller of Vernonia, Ore., has been chosen to receive a prestigious Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship for the 2012-13 academic year.

The scholarship program was founded in 2005 by former U.S. Sen. Ernest Hollings of South Carolina, and is offered through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The program’s goals include increasing undergraduate training in oceanic and atmospheric science, improving environmental literacy and promoting stewardship of the ocean and atmosphere.

Miller, a 20-year-old environmental studies major, will receive as much as $8,000 in academic assistance for next school year and a 10-week paid internship with NOAA during the summer of 2013. If she is reappointed for the scholarship for her senior year, she will again be eligible for as much as $8,000 in academic assistance.

“Hopefully, I’ll just be able to explore some opportunities for my career and see what’s out there,” Miller said.

She hopes to spend the summer internship in NOAA communications or public education offices. Miller said she is considering a career in public outreach and education for an organization such as NOAA, and also has thought of going into environmental law.

Miller was valedictorian for Vernonia High School, and currently carries a 4.04 GPA at the UO. Her father is an elementary school principal and her mother is a teacher’s aide and fund-raising secretary for the Vernonia Schools Campaign, which has sought to rebuild the community’s schools following widespread flood damage in 2007.

Miller volunteered extensively with the Vernonia Schools group during high school, was an outdoor school counselor and is currently an intern with Nearby Nature, providing nature tours at Alton Baker Park in Eugene for school children.

“Having witnessed her skills in public speaking, historical analysis and classroom leadership, I was amazed when I later learned that her substantive interests actually lie in environmental science,” said Ian McNeely, an associate professor of history at the UO and an advisor to Miller in the application process.

“I know that she intends to major in environmental studies and minor in both geology and political science, with the aim of going into environmental law and policymaking,” McNeely said. “The combination of fields here – science and humanities, academic and applied – is truly impressive, and represents exactly the kind of interdisciplinary synergy we hope that students can benefit from at UO.”

McNeely met Miller as a faculty member in the UO’s College Scholars Program, an enrichment and mentoring opportunity intended to help high-achieving students reach their potential. Membership in the program is by invitation, and based on students’ academic records.

“That’s how I became interested in environmental studies,” Miller said. “The teachers also recommended that I apply for the (Hollings) scholarship.”

Miller’s application process included writing two essays. Applicants also are judged on the basis of their records in academics and volunteerism.

She will be introduced to the Hollings Scholarship program in a one-week orientation session this May in Silver Springs, Md.

Hollings Scholarships are granted each year to about 100 undergraduate students from around the U.S.

About the University of Oregon

The University of Oregon is among the 108 institutions chosen from 4,633 U.S. universities for top-tier designation of "Very High Research Activity" in the 2010 Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The UO also is one of two Pacific Northwest members of the Association of American Universities.

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