Danielle Miller

Master of Education in Educational Studies ‘22G
Danielle Miller

Tacked to the wall behind her chair is a row of “gratitude bags” where students place notes for residence hall staff to express their appreciation for support and encouragement. While their welcomed messages are timed with the academic year, gratitude is a way of life for Danielle Miller, UNH Hall Director.

"I love working with college students. My responsibility is to support the self-discovery process by connecting them with resources to nurture their own success. I work closely with our staff to be a catalyst for their resilience and confidence, not only during the university years but on the larger life stage after graduation."

Miller holds a BA in Psychology with a minor in International Studies from the University of Denver and she earned a Master in Educational Studies (MEd) from the online UNH program in 2022. Her community-building focus began during her undergraduate years as a Resident Assistant, a seeding experience for her eventual career choice in Student Affairs.

Previously Coordinator of Residential Life Operations with Bowdoin College in Maine, Miller accepted a position as UNH Hall Director in 2020. Although her day may begin with a group meeting to promote safety practices or a resource newsletter, it can rapidly evolve to accommodate a student in crisis or respond to a student conduct problem. Living on the premises in close proximity makes the job both personal and accessible. With a staff of undergraduate Resident Assistants who populate on each floor, Danielle manages a range of housing issues and addresses community-building with each new class of college students who enter the university system.

"As Hall Director I am usually the first responder so I triage incoming requests. The needs of today’s college students differ from those of prior generations. The challenges for each class are a direct reflection of contemporary societal shifts; although young people share common concerns during this stage of life, every generation faces a unique set of stressors. Among my goals is connecting them with a university support system that encourages students to develop the skills to channel those stressors into strengths."

Intent on developing a career in Student Affairs, Danielle leveraged the UNH staff tuition discount to enroll in the UNH MEd online program. Remote classes provided ample flexibility to schedule coursework around her unpredictable work demands and the customizable program offered a wide range of applicable course content for selection. The rainbow of work experience among her fellow students mirrors the versatility of a MEd degree that reaches across a broad spectrum of career options. Smiling and nodding to make her point, Miller expresses her admiration of the UNH Education Department faculty’s universal commitment to student-centered values as well as their accommodations for the conflicting pressures of working professionals as students.

"Being a graduate student while working full-time was a deep challenge but it brought me closer to the hall’s undergraduate students because they recognized I was sharing their academic experience. I carved out a regular weekend study schedule and, in the process of re-entering the academic world while managing a career, I learned a great deal about my own resilience and persistence. As a first-generation college graduate, earning a master’s degree was a terrific boost to my self-confidence."

Brimming with innovative ideas to improve the student experience, Miller envisions a program to teach financial literacy and provide the proper tools for making good choices. She also dreams of a cross-campus student leadership model for mastering the skills to create a solid foundation for adult life and career.

Encouraging others to develop a good life balance is best demonstrated by example. Aware of her accessibility due to her on-site residence, Miller has learned to prioritize incoming requests and leans on rotational staff to address incoming needs during her off hours. Frequent engagement in off-campus activities helps Danielle keep a fresh perspective on the job she loves.

"Earning a college degree is a big accomplishment. I committed to this role because I feel passionate about helping young people meet their goals. I can think of no better contribution than helping UNH students navigate their path to success!"

Given Danielle’s sincerity and commitment to serving UNH students, the idea of posting “gratitude bags” to share appreciation makes perfect sense.

                                                                                                                                           Written by Gwendolyn Goguelet