To say Jacob Miller is outstanding is an understatement. The Wright State University graduate was named the Outstanding Senior of Modern Languages, is enrolled in the Peace Corps and teaches high school English in Guinea.
Miller wanted to join the Peace Corps in high school. Even when he was in high school he knew he did not want to have a job in an office.
“I didn’t want to work in an office, I wanted to be able to travel the world and learn and share cultures,” he said. “I wanted to be able to teach people that we are all humans and deal with similar issues and that we should all support one another.”
After an interview with the Peace Corps, he was transferred to Guinea because it was the best fit for him. Because he has a degree in French from Wright State, and French is the national language in Guinea, it was a good fit. He is in the Forest Region of Guinea, which is in the southern part of the country.
To prepare for his time in Guinea, Miller took Survey of Francophone African Culture and Literature, which is taught only in French and reviews literature and culture from French-speaking countries.
During his time in Guinea, Miller works on learning local languages, such as Sou-sou and Kissi. The Peace Corps employs Guinea natives to teach the participants these languages. Sou-sou, Miller said, is not too difficult to learn because it has English influences. For example, he said that the Sou-sou word for “table” is “tabli.”
“Jacob is a wonderfully polite and genuine person,” said Kirsten Halling, professor of French at Wright State. “He is such a sweet and humble person.”
As a Wright State student, Miller had an excellent GPA and earned the respect and friendship of his peers and professors. He has also served as a teacher’s assistant in Elementary French classes and was a tutor for the women’s basketball team and a supplemental instruction leader for beginning French II.
He volunteered at the St. Vincent de Paul shelter in Dayton, a faith-based nonprofit that provides emergency shelter, transitional and permanent supportive housing, food, clothing and household items and guidance to help those in poverty lead a self-sustaining life.
Miller’s degree in French has allowed him to connect with more people.
“I have had the opportunity to see ways of life different than from my own and to learn what people from different cultures, countries and religions experience,” he said. “My experience in Lyon taught me that no matter who we are or where we come from, we all want the same things in life. All human beings want to know that others care about them and they want to be able to live a happy, fulfilling life.”
Miller said the quote that defines his life experience is John 13:7: “Jesus replied, ‘You do not understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.”
“I am inspired by this passage because, in my own life, I never really have a plan for what I am doing, I just let things happen and so far I have been given amazing opportunities,” he said.