Noah Miller began his college career in 2013 as a dually enrolled student making second-rate grades. But, he got another chance in 2015, when he enrolled in Lone Star College-CyFair Campus in Texas and began to excel academically.
“I had a pretty rough experience at an out-of-state university, but LSC-CyFair really turned things around for me,” Noah said. “Faculty, Phi Theta Kappa advisors, and countless administrators fight tooth and nail to see their students succeed.
“That isn’t something you can guarantee at large research-oriented schools.”
Noah started his PTK journey as a provisional member of the Beta Lambda Mu Chapter at LSC. By 2016 he had earned an invitation and started becoming the leader he is today.
Beta Lambda Mu Chapter advisor Leslie Jewkes said students like Noah are why they believe provisional membership is a good way to expose potential members to their chapter, encourage academic excellence, and groom new chapter leaders in the process.
“I recently encouraged five more students to become provisional members of the chapter in hopes they will see the good that can come from being PTK members, and that it will give them a goal to reach for as they strive to improve their GPAs,” she said.
Noah said he was intent on becoming a full member from the very beginning but wasn’t able to due to his grades.
“But, as a provisional member I had every opportunity to be involved in chapter affairs and some of the projects we were undertaking,” he said. “I couldn’t be an officer, but I was certainly able to assist in my capacity.”
After being inducted as a full member Noah was able to become a chapter officer. Taking on the role of Honors in Action Vice President for his PTK chapter and getting involved in campus life helped him feel he was a part of something bigger than himself. He also became a Student Ambassador at LSC, worked as a legal intern at the Harris County Civil Justice Center and volunteered as a debate coach at Cypress Woods High School.
At PTK Catalyst 2017, Beta Lambda Mu was named PTK’s Most Distinguished Chapter, and Noah earned a scholarship for his first-place finish in the Extemporaneous Speech Competition.
During the Texas Region Leadership Conference, he received the $500 Walter B. Cooper Memorial Scholarship. The Texas Region Alumni Association presents this scholarship in memory of Walter B. Cooper, an advisor for the Alpha Gamma Pi chapter at Austin Community College, who advised students to become well-rounded individuals in each of PTK’s hallmarks.
To Noah, the scholarship was another motivation for him to keep pushing toward his dream of a career in civic and constitutional law.
“Law is appealing to me because I have noticed that every industry and feature of our society interacts with the law in one way or another,” he said. “Public service seems exciting because you get to represent and serve others through the instrument of law and public policy.”
Noah is majoring in political science and statistics at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He recently presented at PTK’s forum, “The Phi Theta Kappa Story: Memoirs of Student Success,” at the League for Innovation in the Community College’s Innovations Conference alongside PTK President and CEO Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner and Dr. Blake Ellis, Associate Vice President of Outreach and Engagement, who is also Noah’s former chapter advisor.
He will also join other PTK leaders as a panelist at PTK Catalyst 2018.
“These conversations reminded me that community college is one of the most important institutions in higher education — that to be a student or alumnus isn’t a shortcoming, but something to be proud of,” Noah said. “With student debt, economic change, and political uncertainty at a high-point, community colleges, and more specifically, Phi Theta Kappa, will play a vital role in allowing people to redefine themselves, restart, and retool.”