Savanna's Story

Support students like Savanna!
Savanna Miller

Name: Savanna Miller
College: Waldron College of Health and Human Services
Major: Nursing
Clubs/Activities: Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity; Phi Kappa Phi National Honors Society; Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honors Society; Radford Student Nurses Organization; Virginia Nursing Student Association; Ladies of Value and Empowerment (L.O.V.E.); Radford Crafty; Campus Outreach; YoungLife Club
Hometown: Tazewell, Virginia

Why Radford? 
The diverse student body. Radford University students come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences, with different views on politics, religion, core values and everything in between! Some students enjoy playing sports while others enjoy playing video games. Some students spend their time hiking or volunteering while others spend their time singing or acting. Everyone at Radford is unique, and that uniqueness is embraced and celebrated!

What is your favorite Radford University memory?
Attending Advocacy Day in Richmond. Along with President Hemphill and several other students and faculty, I helped lobby for the University in hopes of gaining more funding from our government officials. I got to meet Virginia’s governor and lieutenant governor, one of our senators, and several delegates, among other government officials and leaders.

Who is your favorite professor?
Laura Gruss. Like most professors at Radford University, she genuinely cares about her students and takes the time to get to know each of us personally. She goes above and beyond to help her students academically (even meeting with us outside of normal class hours!) as well as personally. In fact, she provided me great comfort as I grieved the loss of a fellow Highlander and nursing student last year. Furthermore, she wrote me a recommendation letter that helped me secure much-needed scholarship support.

How have you financed your education?
I come from a family of 10 and neither of my parents attended college, so the burden of paying for my education has fallen solely on me. I remember sitting at my kitchen table a week before school started, crying because I wasn’t sure how I was going to pay for everything. After two years of taking out several loans, obtaining financial aid and working as a residential assistant, I was ecstatic to have earned enough scholarship support to cover most of my tuition and living expenses for my junior and senior years. I cannot put into words the relief and gratitude I felt. Thanks to these scholarships, I will be graduating in December with much less debt than I imagined having.

How has donor support helped you as a student?
Without donor support, I probably would have had to leave Radford University, perhaps never to return and earn my degree. Scholarships have allowed me to focus on my academics without needing to get a job (something that isn’t possible with multiple 12-hour clinical rotations on top of classes every week). Scholarships have also freed me from the worry of paying my rent or being able to afford food and gas. In addition to the scholarships, donor support has allowed me to attend the Virginia Nurses Student Association Annual Conference in Harrisonburg and Advocacy Day in Richmond, two experiences that significantly enhanced my college experience.

Do you have a message for donors and prospective donors?
Thank you for helping make my dreams a reality. Because of you, I will earn my degree and begin a career as a registered nurse in January. You have provided me far greater opportunities than I could have ever imagined. And to anyone considering making a donation, I truly hope that you will invest in the future of students like me. I know that when I graduate, I will definitely give back to the Highlander family so that future students can enjoy their Radford experience as much as I have.