Adventurous History

Leah Miller '14

Photo by Micah Corso '16.

Leah Miller '14

by MaryAlice Bitts-Jackson

John Dickinson scholar Leah Miller ’14 helped create an open online course and once dreamed of becoming the next Indiana Jones. She also studied in Scotland, mingled with Lincoln re-enactors and didn't want to be a history major—at first.

Clubs and organizations:

Community advisor, Liberty Cap and WDCV DJ.

Favorite books:

The His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Favorite movie:

The Departed.

Favorite out-of-class learning experience:

I did an internship with [Associate] Professor [of History Matthew] Pinsker, and we created an open, online graduate course called Understanding Lincoln. I did a lot of research on online courses, which really intrigue me. I also visited Gettysburg during the observance of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War battle and got to meet a famous Lincoln re-enactor at the state capitol.

Favorite place on campus:

Denny Hall

Favorite Dining Hall food:

Mac and cheese.

Why Dickinson?

When I toured the campus, I really felt like Dickinson could be my home. I was very drawn to the study-abroad and language programs and to Dickinson's mission to “engage the world.”

If I could have dinner with anyone, it would be . . .

Vera Brittain. I really loved her memoir, Testament of Youth.

In a perfect world . . .

. . . teleportation would be possible.

Way beyond memorization:

When I arrived at Dickinson, I really had the wrong idea about what it meant to study history, since high-school history classes just involved memorizing facts and dates. So I was determined not to be a history major. But to fulfill a graduation requirement, I took an overview of modern Europe my freshman year. I liked it enough to continue on to a class about modern Britain, and I had an amazing professor who helped me realize that history is not memorization, but acute analysis. I declared my major in history that semester.

Little-known talent:

I'm a grapheme to color synesthete, which means that letters and numbers and words take on color in my mind.

As a kid, I wanted to be . . .

At first, a cowgirl. Later, an astronaut, an artist for Pixar, a chef, Indiana Jones . . .

 My biggest influence:

My mother. She taught me what it means to be courageous, eloquent, compassionate, creative, gentle and forgiving. She can find pleasure in the simplest moments and beauty in the smallest things. I've always tried to emulate her.

View more Student Snapshot profiles.

Published Dec. 5, 2013