Kayla Miller ′11
Hometown: Thornburg, Arkansas
Major: English Literature with French Minor
Tell me about your involvement with Heifer International.
Heifer International is an organization with facilities and volunteers all around the world dedicated to finding long-term solutions for hunger and poverty through ecological innovation and sustainable development. I was always fascinated with it as a child but they won’t let people volunteer until they turn 18. As soon as I turned 18, I was volunteering for Heifer and I’ve loved it ever since. Not only do I get to help in exciting research, but I know that I’m a part of an enormous group of volunteers who are all focused behind a movement for immense social change.
How was the experience of being a student panelist at last year’s British Studies Symposium?
It was one of the most anxious and exciting times during my experience here at Rhodes. I was surrounded by so many people with such varied backgrounds in the study of English literature, that I wasn’t sure of my place in their midst. But once I had presented and fielded questions with the other members on my panel who had also studied some aspect of John Milton’s work, I found a sense of belonging much like the one I feel with Heifer. It’s very inspiring to know that my passions are echoed by others. That is what empowers me to get involved in both academic and extracurricular activities.
Are there any other experiences at Rhodes that have inspired you?
There have been many sources of inspiration here at Rhodes. One of those experiences came this summer when I was a Curb Fellow at the Rhodes Regional Studies Institute. I studied the activism of William Herbert Brewster, a locally famous gospel composer and preacher. In my research I tried to piece together the fabric of this figure’s life in the absence of secondary sources. I put together most of my research by visiting East Trigg Baptist Church where Brewster did most of his work. There remains a community in the church that is dedicated to preserving the memories of William Herbert Brewster. It was their passion that really spoke to me. From hearing their stories and sifting through their grocery bags of rotting newspaper articles, I found a calling to continue the task of preserving what we can.