IST student marshal, Schreyer Scholar blends tech and biology to advance career

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Although Anna Miller didn’t begin her Penn State career in the College of Information Sciences and Technology, she honed her technical skills to become a standout IST student. Miller has been named student marshal for Penn State's College of Information Sciences and Technology commencement ceremony on May 5.

Originally a biology major who changed direction in her sophomore year, Miller has developed a solid resume during her time in IST. A Schreyer Honors Scholar, she has achieved dean’s list standing every semester and will graduate Summa Cum Laude in May. She is a recipient of the 2016-17 PNC Technologies Scholarship and the 2017 Evan Pugh Scholar Award, which recognizes students in the top 0.5 percent in their academic class. Miller also has been involved in organizations such as Women in IST and the Design Square Human-Computer Interaction and Health Informatics Lab.

But, she said, the most rewarding thing she’s gained from her Penn State experience is confidence.

“I started Penn State as a nervous and shy student who didn’t really know what I wanted to do for a career,” she explained. “When I switched my major to IST, I was immersed in classes and projects that allowed me to develop my technical and soft skills, while also giving me a glimpse of a career in technology. Through my experience, I have developed communication and leadership skills, which have allowed me to become more confident.”

She gives a lot of credit to Alison Murphy, assistant teaching professor of information sciences and technology and IST’s 2018 spring commencement faculty marshal. Miller said that Murphy, who coincidentally was the instructor for her first and final classes in IST, has made the biggest impact on her during her time at Penn State.

“She makes her classes interesting and I feel as if she is preparing us well for our future careers,” Miller said. “She really has a desire to help her students succeed.”

According to Murphy, Miller exemplifies the best characteristics of IST students.

“She has a strong technical foundation, understands and demonstrates how to use technology to solve real problems, continuously seeks out opportunities to sharpen her critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, and is a hardworking and committed team player,” Murphy noted. “I am confident that Anna will go on to become a very successful IT professional who will make a positive impact on the world around her because of her excellent work ethic, her strong desire to learn and challenge herself, and her ability to work so well with others.”

The classroom isn’t the only place that Miller has been honing her skills, and she’s been able to find ways to integrate her passion for biology (now her minor) with technology. Her Schreyer honors thesis involves a systematic review of the public’s perception of genetic testing services and how they will impact the future of health care. She also completed an internship at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center last summer, where she developed a web-based application for a genetics and oncology lab.

“It was a great learning experience and really confirmed my desire to pursue a career in healthcare IT,” she said.

She will continue utilizing the education and skills she gained in technology and biology as she begins her career as a technical problem solver for Epic, a leading healthcare software development company in Madison, Wisconsin, that develops electronic health records for hospitals nationwide.

As she embarks on her career, the third-generation Penn Stater will fondly remember her time on campus.

“I realize how much I’ve grown and developed over the past four years,” she said. “Penn State has molded me and prepared me for the future, and I am so grateful for the experience I have had."

Last Updated April 23, 2018