No stranger to seizing opportunity, Rider senior eyes next opening: law school
After four years of taking advantage of nearly every opportunity Rider presented to her, Suzanne Miller is set to seize her latest opening: a generous scholarship to attend Rutgers Law School in Camden, N.J.
“I’ve always cared about people and been fascinated by the world and how political parties and nations interact with each other,” the graduating senior says. “Law school is a logical next step.”
Miller came to Rider with thoughts of becoming a teacher. Instead, she has immersed herself in the study and experience of global cultures, languages and politics. She has two majors (political science and global studies) and two minors (French and Spanish). She studied abroad in Northern Ireland and helped Rider’s Model UN team take top spots in her sophomore and junior years — experiences she refers to as “life changing.” Her undergraduate research includes a deep dive into an Algerian re-writing of Albert Camus' seminal novel The Stranger.
Originally from Delran, N.J., Miller was encouraged to attend Rider by her father, James Miller '82, and a high school guidance counselor — both alumni of the University. “Then I came to an open house and fell in love with it,” she says.
Miller had already been taking French classes for five years before entering Rider. “French is just fun, and it’s useful, too,” she says. “I had a teacher in 8th grade who made us fall in love with the language. She had a beautiful accent and made everything engaging and the professors at Rider did the same thing here.”
Noting that French and Spanish are two of the official languages of the International Criminal Court, Miller feels her fluency in foreign languages will serve as a valuable tool in her career. “The languages are something that I would like to employ,” she says. “They’re tools that can open connections.”
Opening connections is one of Miller's strengths. She compares the Department of Political Science to a “big extended family.” While she has received wisdom and guidance from Dr. Frank Rusciano, who is her official advisor and the director of the global studies program, she needs two hands to count the professors who have served as advisors in unofficial capacities.
“The people I have met have always been very welcoming and I’ve been very fortunate to have those mentor relationships,” she says. “I was excited to take everything they had to offer, and they have helped me tailor the things that I’m passionate about into a plan for what I want to do.”
Rider's global studies program is designed to provide a foundation of insight and knowledge into globalization, international relations and the politics of the global economy. Alumni of the program have gone on to prestigious master's programs in international studies, including at Cornell and Tufts, and have worked for the United Nations and other organizations that address international and global issues. Likewise, graduates of Rider's political science program have built on their broad understanding of political institutions and processes to pursue careers in public service and policy analysis and with NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and IGOs (international governmental organizations).
As an upperclassman, Miller took it upon herself to become a mentor and assist younger students. Through the University’s GLASS (General Liberal Arts and Sciences Students) Mentor Program, she has worked with incoming freshmen to help them adjust to college life. She also mentors students in the political science department as well as international students.
How will the sum of these experiences influence her career? Miller expects her long-term plan to come into focus in law school. “I know I want to do something in public service and what I’ve learned in my classes has made me more excited about that,” she says. “That’s where my strengths can be put best to use. I don’t know if I’ll end up as a litigator, but I think I’ll have a lot of options to help citizens in the community.”