September 22, 2014

Elyria
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Elyria grad will hit books over winter break

This December, most college students who come home from school will park themselves on the living room couch and wolf down some sorely missed home-cooked food.

Stephen Miller will spend most of his holiday break in the Elyria Public Library hunched over political histories researching the 30-page paper he has to write.

The paper – on pardons and power in the presidency – is the culmination of a prestigious fellowship in which Miller is participating where he and 84 other college students from across the country were hand-picked to spend a year making trips to Washington, D.C., meeting prominent political players and researching, writing and publishing a paper on one aspect of the presidency.

And although the paper isn`t due until the fellowship ends in April, Miller figures his winter break may be the only time he can really devote to it. Take one look at his schedule and you`d probably agree.

The time Miller doesn`t devote to studying or attending classes for his international relations major at Rollins College in Florida is divided among tutoring, planning campus events and leading tours.

Oh, and he has organized seven trips to hurricane-ravaged New Orleans to offer aid and support as part of the foundation he started – Rollins` Relief.

Filling every spare second is nothing new for this Elyria High School graduate.

“I tend to keep pretty busy,” he said.

On top of it, Miller has been chosen to participate in the presidential fellowship.

He is the only representative from his school and one of only a few Ohio residents to be selected.

“I`m really proud to be a part of this,” he said, although he admits he was a little nervous before his first trip to the nation`s capital last week. “I expected everything to be over my head,” he said, “but I was pleasantly surprised to see that I could converse with the best of them.”

The best of this group is probably among the best in the nation. Most of them, Miller said, are from Ivy League schools or service academies like West Point.

Coming from a small liberal arts school like Rollins, Miller is certainly the exception to the rule – although he very nearly wasn`t.

“I almost went to West Point,” Miller admitted.

Whether it`s working to rebuild New Orleans or cleaning up the damage done by a tornado in Florida, Miller feels most comfortable at the center of things.

Participating in the presidential fellowship is just another step in a staircase that could lead anywhere.

In addition to completing the fellowship, Miller will trade his dorm room in Florida for an office as a political intern in Washington, D.C. Does this mark the beginning of a career in Washington?

“I don`t know,” Miller said. “I don`t know exactly where I`m headed. I want to do some traveling. I know that. And I want to volunteer for Teach for America when I graduate.”

Looking at how much he`s accomplished, it can be easy to forget that Stephen Miller is just a college junior.

Contact Michael Baker at 329-7155 or mbaker@chroniclet.com.