Miller Research LLC: President and Study Director
BS Agribusiness Production BYU 2002
M.A. in Education UC Davis 2007
Where do you work? How long have you worked there? What do you do?
Agricultural Science & Technology Teacher/FFA advisor
How is your profession related to Environmental Science?
I teach agriculture to high school students. I help students to apply math and science to real life situations while helping them to develop leadership qualities.
What are the most rewarding aspects of managing your career?
Working with great students and future leaders is the main reason I enjoy my job. It is also nice to have a career that is scheduled around the school calendar.
How has your BYU education benefited your career and would you recommend any specific course background for your field?
While a student at BYU, I did not plan on becoming an ag teacher. However, all of the education I received there helped to prepare me for what I do now. My degree was in agribusiness production with an emphasis in forage production. Classes in plants, soils, economics and business have served me well in my teaching. Also, involvement in the Horticulture Club gave me many extremely valuable experiences from which I have drawn for teaching. For anyone considering ag education, I recommend taking classes in every area of agriculture if possible. I wish I had taken courses in animal science, floriculture/floral design, and greenhouse management. Those are the areas in which I am struggling to catch up.
What changes do you see or expect in your profession in the near future?
There is a nationwide shortage of ag teachers as veteran teachers retire. There is a higher demand with a greater number of students in school, and there are not enough new teachers coming out of college.
There is a common misconception of lumping environmental science with environmental activism. How can our department best address this perception problem with our students and employers?
In my opinion, the word “environmental” has the stigma of activism. To really address this perception problem, maybe it would be best to change the name. You could completely remove the word “environmental” or simply add a clarifying word “biology” or “agriculture” to the name.
How can students best network within your profession in order to gain employment or internships? Does your company have internships that may be of interest to our students?
That can be difficult since you don’t have an ag education major at BYU. The profession sort of networks itself at schools like Utah State and the University of Idaho. Contact with ag teachers or their associations is an effective way.
Does your company have internships that may be of interest to our students? Who should they contact?
Not unless students are in teaching programs, but most ag teachers are always willing to share their feelings about what they do and let prospective teachers observe.
Do you have any general advice for our students or our faculty with regard to your profession?
I realize it probably is not in the plan at BYU, but the best thing for getting students into this profession would be to start an ag education major
Would you share a favorite memory of your BYU professors?
I remember having a great time learning in Dr. Jeffries classes because of the small class sizes and his friendly personality. I always felt like Dr. Jolley took a personal interest in my education and success and I enjoyed some precious personal experiences where his support helped me through rough times. Dr. Allen has more energy in his little finger than I’ll ever have. I think he must be superman because of the way he can balance an incredible amount of work with family, personal time working with students, and schmoozing with prospective employers to give his students every employment opportunity possible. I’ll never forget how hard I had to work in Dr. Kearl’s economics class just to get a B that I was proud of. I could go on and on. I loved the experiences I had at BYU.