Name: Denise Miller

Age: 52

Hometown: Cartersville

Graduation year: May 2015

Degree earned: Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

Why did you choose Dalton State? I chose Dalton State because my daughter was looking for a small school, and I was going to be her chauffeur. She had just finished the fourth surgery on her ankle and would not be able to drive her first semester. I had just graduated from Georgia Highlands College with my associate degree in criminal justice. I was looking at a larger college, but my daughter needed me, so I decided on DSC. I would realize it the first day of school that it was the best decision I had ever made in regards to colleges. DSC allowed me to explore my field on a more intimate level and classes like Victimology and Family Violence helped me find healing for some past issues that I had suffered. I realize now if I had taken these same classes in a larger setting I would not have been able to have the one on one contact with so many classmates as well as the professor. I would not have been able to come to terms with my issues, but also find healing and in turn be there for others that had also been through some of the same things. DSC allowed me to find my voice and allowed me to become a light to others. It has allowed me to crystalize what I wanted to do and what I was supposed to do with my life and career after college. Dalton State also prepared me for graduate school where I am currently seeking my master’s degree in criminal justice with a concentration in psychology.

What did you do after graduation? I went back to school. I got accepted and started at Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Ala.

What other degrees have you obtained? None yet. I hope in less than two years to be able to say that I have my master’s in criminal justice.

Where do you work now? Who has time for work when going to graduate school? I actually applied for a job before grad school started, but thank God I did not get that job. Right now my job is keeping my nose in a textbook. I thought undergrad classes were tough, but grad school is a whole other level of toughness.

Who was your favorite professor and why? Dr. Natalie Johnson. Dr. Johnson was one of the toughest and most stern professors I have ever taken and yet she is my favorite. When she teaches her classes, the excitement for the subject exudes from her. The student has no choice but to catch her excitement. She gives the students the tools to do well in her classes, but the student will work hard to get to that A. With her classes I wanted that A so badly. I wanted to know the subject so much that I would engrave it in my mind and never forget it. I did not want to just learn it for a test, but learn it for life. I enjoyed her classes so much that in Spring 2015 I retook one of her classes for fun. I did not get credit for it, but I attended every class. She is tough, but she makes her classes exciting and fun. Do not let Dr. Johnson catch you texting in class, as her death stare is legendary.

What activities were you involved in on campus? LAE, which is the Criminal Justice fraternity. We took trips to Orlando for Regionals and Nashville for Nationals. For the Regional, my husband and I took our camper down and one night we had the whole group over for a cook out. I helped with the donut sales; LAE will present the The GreenHouse with the proceeds.

How did being at Dalton State change your life? I found my voice through class like Victimology and Family Violence. I became an advocate for those who had been abused and I became vocal about the fact that just because we have suffered abuse we are not damaged goods. We did not cause the abuse; we are victims. I found many people had suffered some type of abuse and felt like it was their fault. Because I found my voice and became so vocal I soon gained the name Mama Bear. To this day my “cubs” still are in contact with me and we still have family “reunions.” Some of our reunions are small and some are large, but every time Mama Bear can get with some of her cubs it is very heartwarming.

What is the last book you read? A textbook of course. Psychology of Criminal Conduct by D.A Andrews and James Bortha

What’s on your iPad? 2,864 songs (country, contemporary gospel, rock, jazz), seven movies, 3,017 books (Bible, textbooks, counseling, true crime, serial killers, mysteries, thrillers, romance), Alabama Football app, Fandango app, Mahjong, DirecTV app, Fox5 app, ABC News app, Tripomatic app, Amazon app, Barnes & Noble app, Nook app, Kindle app, Books A Million app, Kobo app, Instagram, Facebook, USA Today app, Waze, Pinterest, GasBuddy, Weather Radio, Khan Mobile, Best Buy app, Our Groceries app, Sleep Sound, ESPN app, WSB Weather app, Find Friends app, Keek, Expedia, Study Blue, SlingPlayer app, SirusXM, Expedia, Sudoku, Google Maps, CrimeMapping, CrimeReports etc.

Favorite comfort food?  Country fried steak with mashed potatoes.

If you had a theme song, what would it be? “Changed” by Rascal Flatts

What is your guilty pleasure? Going to get my nails and toes done. Just relaxing for a little while and not thinking about school work or housework is amazing.

What do you feel most proud of? My three daughters. All three are pursuing their degrees and doing very well at it. My husband and I are blessed with such great girls.

If you could only keep five possessions, what would they be? My Bible, my husband, my three daughters.

What cheers you up? Getting together with family and friends.

What is your favorite book? The Bible.

Who is your hero? First and foremost Jesus Christ. Second my husband. He is the reason I have overcome the abuse of my past and he is the reason I can be who I am. He allows me to be me and never questions why I do the things I do, like invite strangers to move in with us. He encourages me everyday to be me.

Who would play you in the movie version of your life? Sandra Bullock. Her role in the Blindside would be similar to who others say I am.

What does it mean to you to be part of the Roadrunner Nation? Being part of Roadrunner Nation means being part of a group of winners, like our basketball team last year that would not give up. We can all learn a lesson from them. We may be from a small town and a small college. Yet, our impact does not have to be small; we can make a huge impact on our world. I am not the typical college student. I waited late in life to decide what I wanted to do when I grew up. When I came to DSC I was able to find my voice and now I am reaching out and touching people all across our state. Because of research that I did in Dr. James Wright’s Research and Senior Capstone class I have been accepted to present in Washington at the American Society of Criminology Annual Meeting in November of this year. Being part of Roadrunner Nation means that I am a winner, and I have knowledge and the ability to communicate this knowledge to others and hopefully one day see policies changed because of my knowledge. Being a part of Roadrunner Nation means that I have been empowered to succeed.