WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — March is International Women’s Month, a perfect time to appreciate the drive and motivation of women who strengthen and better the Texoma community.
In the first of a four-part series on Remarkable Women in Texoma, Anchor Carney Porter shines a spotlight on an accomplished leader and professor for MSU Texas whose influence comes from her roots in Wichita Falls.
Most recently, Dr. Stacia Miller’s influence is being felt as the Director of Undergraduate Research at MSU Texas as well as a professor in the department of Kinesiology, teaching various courses that focus on physical education.
“I’m just a small-town girl, grew up here in Wichita Falls,” Miller said. “I wanted to be a teacher from a very early age. So I think I’m just doing what I love and just living out that dream.”
Miller has spent her entire career working to influence the next generation. Her career started in the public school system, but while studying for her master’s degree at Texas State University, her mentors encouraged her to go for her Ph.D. It was then that Miller realized by furthering her education, her impact could be made far beyond the walls of a classroom.
“Teaching every day, I was getting to work with kids, but if I could go to the higher education level, I could actually influence teachers who could then touch the lives of more kids,” Miller said.
MSU Texas student Jose Flores-Rivera is one of many who continues to experience the benefit of Dr. Miller’s guidance. So much so, that he’s now taken four of her classes.
“We see her as a friend,” Flores-Rivera said. “She’s very nice to us and she just, like, really cares about all of our well-being and stuff like that.”
Flores-Rivera appreciates the respect she gives to her students, and how she strives to help them succeed long-term, rather than teach the basics to make the grade.
“I come from like a really bad neighborhood to where, like, our reading levels or stuff like that was bad, so she understands like a lot of us are not on the same level in college,” Flores-Rivera said. “Even though we’re here, we’re not all on the same level of knowledge, so she really tries to, like, break it down so that we all can understand it in different ways.”
Miller also takes time to make a difference off-campus. She’s been a part of several United Way and Early Childhood Coalition committees. More recently, she’s taken her knowledge of physical education to the YMCA as the head coach of one of its basketball teams. Acts of kindness for a city she says has given her so much.
“This community supported me and so I think it’s important to give back because I am who I am because of Wichita Falls and the people in it,” Miller said. “I also want to be a role model to my students so that, you know, one day they go and be givers to their community.”
Making a difference that will be seen through the future leaders of the up-and-coming generations of Wichitans. An act that can only be seen as remarkable.
“I think that the remarkable people are the people that are there for one another, that support one another, that give of themselves and lift others up,” Miller said. “I think love, you know, love comes in all different fashions and forms and I think that being a good friend, being a good mentor, those are the kinds of things that make people remarkable and giving their time to others.”
Dr. Miller sees endless possibilities for students to learn more about their desired fields. She hopes in the coming years to pursue various opportunities to develop new classes and programs at MSU Texas.