As the director of Ohio University’s Consortium for Energy, Economics, and the Environment, Scott Miller connects faculty across the university, allowing them to work together and create ideas that affect policy here in Athens and across the country. Previously, Miller was a student in the environmental studies program at the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs.
Miller began his academic career by earning a degree in secondary science education from Wright State University in 1986. After graduation, Miller taught science for three years at the Huber Heights City School District near Dayton, Ohio.
Miller eventually decided he wanted to earn a master’s degree in environmental studies; he chose Ohio University because of the flexibility of the program.
“I was looking for a program that would build upon the interdisciplinary nature of my undergraduate degree, because my interests were very broad and I didn’t like being channeled into a single discipline,” Miller said. “I liked the rural setting, and I liked the fact that you could design your own program because I knew exactly what I wanted to do. It was a good fit.”
After finishing his master’s degree, Miller obtained his first job as an Americorps VISTA volunteer with Rural Action in Athens, a group that focuses on community-based economic development. He worked on the Monday Creek Restoration Project, which focuses on cleaning up the acid drainage from abandoned coal mines seeping into local streams.
“I’m really proud to say that early work we did back then is leading now to miles and miles of clean streams,” Miller said.
After his time with Americorps, Miller was hired by what would become the Voinovich School to continue work with local watershed groups and build up the environmental program at the school. In 2006, the Voinovich School partnered with the Russ College of Engineering and the College of Arts and Sciences, to create the Consortium for Energy, Economics and the Environment.
“It’s designed to pull all these people across campus together to focus on those thorny interests that don’t reside in just one discipline,” Miller said. “CE3 gives them a platform to meet and work together.”
Miller supervises eight to 10 people at the Voinovich School, and spends time building and fostering relationships with the College of Arts and Sciences and the Russ College. In addition, he develops relationships with other academic units, such as the Scripps College of Communications, the College of Health Sciences and Professions.
Off campus, Miller is involved in policy discussions around the country.
“I wear lots of different hats, focusing some of my time on Columbus — and to a lesser degree Washington, D.C. — trying to figure out how Ohio University can be part of the policy dialogue,” Miller said. “
Miller hopes to continue and to refine the CE3 model. He is working to create a more sustainable business model to continue the program, and emphasizes the need to continue strengthening relationships with the environmental etudies program as well as other programs on campus.
It is easy for Miller to think of his two favorite parts of his job as director of CE3: the variety of duties and the ability to work with students.
“Every day is a new challenge, a new project. We get to work with a lot of different stakeholders, from academia, to the private sector, to the nonprofit sector, to the government sector,” Miller said. “It is interesting to work with really engaged students who are able to think critically and come with their own built in enthusiasm. It’s a really fun job.”