Resident: Ciara Miller
House: MET Pilot

My name is Ciara Miller, my pronouns are she/her, and I am the Media Coordinator at the MET Pilot Scholarship House in Gainesville, Florida. I am in my first year at the University of Florida and in SSF. I am originally from Jacksonville, Florida but I lived in Cudjoe Key and Vilano Beach for a few years as well. I am very grateful that my guidance counselor sent me an email detailing the opportunities that SSF entailed. I’m a proud first generation student who was raised by a single mother.

Without SSF, I wouldn’t be attending a top 7 public university in the nation. UF offers a diverse range of engineering majors not found anywhere else in Florida. My local Jacksonville colleges and universities do not offer the same diverse opportunities I wish to pursue. I am pursuing a biomedical engineering degree, yet I am not pre-health. My ultimate goal is to become a researcher either in stem cells, genetics, or neuroscience. I was inspired to pursue research because I am very skilled at biology, especially genetics. But the key motivating event for me was when I studied abroad in Africa for 5 weeks and learned about the brutal practice of genital mutilation. Men are circumcised between the ages 15 and 21 to become warriors in Masai tribes. Women between the ages of 12 and 18 must undergo the month long ritual of removing the clitoris for her arranged marriage. Genital mutilation is practiced in South America, Asia, and Africa in many communities. I understand many have their own opinions regarding the benefits of genital mutilation. I believe one should be able to choose rather than be forced to undergo the painful procedure.

My ultimate goal is to become a medical researcher and to create a non-profit organization which allows victims of genital mutilation to receive medical treatment. I hope to achieve this through involvement with stem cell research studies at the University of Florida. I hope my research can help victims regrow their mutilated parts giving them confidence, and more sensation while reducing their pain. I want to help victims of all types of trauma regrow their damaged organs though, from the wounded war veteran to the scarred self-mutilating teen. Trauma doesn’t just affect someone physically, it also causes psychological pain. Minimizing the physical scars of past trauma can help speed the process of psychological healing.

Biology, psychology and math have always been my strongest and most favored subjects. My interests aren’t completely defined to math and science though. I am also an advocate for equal rights, yes, LGBTQ+, women, and POC. I plan to gain a minor in either Women’s studies, African studies, or International studies. I am currently a member of the Pride Student Union, Women Student Association, and the Society of Women Engineers student-run organizations. In my free time I enjoy drawing, watching TED Talks, and running. Water sports and biking are also hobbies of mine. This semester I hope to train for a triathlon and go backpacking in Lumpkin Georgia’s clay ravines. I became a media coordinator because I love learning and wanted to explore this realm. One which may help me in the future to promote a new non-profit grow. This position also provides the opportunity to make connections with my housemates and create a scrapbook of all of our memories at the end of the semester which will represent our chapter at the MET Pilot house and SSF forever.