Sabrina Miller, Online Student and STARS Presenter

Sabrina Miller, whose mentor was Dr. Holly Kent, presented on “Varina Davis: Change of Mind or Mind Unchained?” (Scroll down on this list of 2014 Student Presentations to find Sabrina’s name and then find her portion on the linked video.) Sabrina lives in Novi, Michigan. She is earning a Bachelor’s degree in History from UIS.


Photograph of Sabrina Miller
Sabrina Miller

I first heard of the Symposium when my academic mentor, Holly Kent, asked if I would be interested in presenting my work at StARS. Even if I hadn’t been excited about my topic, I will be starting a Ph.D. program in the fall, either in Sociology or in English Language and Literature, and I knew that having some research and presentation on my CV would also be helpful.

But who am I kidding? I just love to learn and share what I’ve learned. Our best hope for the future is to share our knowledge and to make people aware of social issues, both past and present. In my presentation, I brought to life a woman who could easily be a footnote in history, and although she wasn’t perfect, she WAS an example of a woman who let her independence and education be hidden from view in order to please her husband.

I am so glad I took part!

  • I gained valuable experience presenting in front of others.
  • I had a wonderful time.
  • However, the best memory I have is the lengthy discussion I had with a family after my presentation. It was three generations of ladies, and we had an in-depth conversation about women’s rights and about how it wasn’t that long ago that we didn’t have those rights.

Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, means more to me than answering questions and inspiring discussion. STARS did that for me.

Should you take part in STARS? I highly recommend it. If you are considering teaching at any level, this will give you the opportunity to become familiar with presentation skills. If you are considering grad school, you really, really should do everything you can to show you are willing to do the research AND present it in an academic setting.

-Sabrina Miller


Special Thanks

UIS changed my life. I have had a long road to get where I am. After all these years, UIS helped my dreams come true.

Dr. Holly Kent was my academic mentor for STARS, but every single teacher I’ve had at UIS has made an impact. I owe them, and UIS, so much. To name a few:

  • Dr. Heather Bailey accepted me into the program at the last minute, and she helped me recognize just where my talents and passions were often drawn (literature!).
  • Dr. Boria Sax showed me that, unlike 20 years ago, animal-human studies were now a ‘thing’ in academia, and he ultimately introduced me to programs in which I could (delightfully!) incorporate all of my passions.
  • Dr. Elizabeth Kosmetatou reminded me of the way in which history is the STORY of all of us—from the logistics to the eclectic aspects of human nature.

UIS does what education SHOULD do – give everyone a chance! I work for the Rackham Graduate School at the University of Michigan, which does not have online study. They have had faith in me too, but faith is nothing unless someone gives you the chance. UIS gave me the chance.

-Sabrina Miller


*UIS does have limited funds for online students to travel to Springfield to present at STARS in person. Please speak with your prospective mentor/professor about applying for these funds.