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Evergreen Park junior benefits from firm (and Fermilab) commitment

VirginiMiller Evergreen Park High School had summer internship Fermilab Batavia.  |  Supplied phoby Bill Sanderson

Virginia Miller, of Evergreen Park High School, had a summer internship at Fermilab in Batavia. | Supplied photo by Bill Sanderson

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Updated: November 30, 2013 7:56PM



Virginia Miller is a junior at Evergreen Park High School and already is chalking up experiences that will solidify her college applications.

This past summer, Miller, 17, was one of a handful of students who earned an internship at Fermilab in Batavia.

She was chosen after a rigorous application process that included filling out extensive paperwork along with collecting teacher recommendations.

She got a call for an interview at the University of Illinois-Chicago campus, after which the list of applicants was narrowed down to about 50 candidates.

She made the cut and was chosen as one of 18 who got the chance to see what goes on inside Fermilab for six weeks over the summer.

Miller made the two-hour commute each day. Once there, she worked in quality assurance on the NOvA Neutrino Experiment, which is associated with the U.S. Department of Energy and studies the properties of neutrinos, which are subatomic particles.

“My supervisor was a physicist and I learned a lot from him,” said Miller, who met up with the other interns in the afternoon for classroom hours.

In the classroom, the students reprogrammed a robot, built a boomerang and a rocket, and soldered a radio.

“It was really fun. I enjoyed all the classes. I did stuff I never did before and interacted with the other interns, so we all became pretty close friends in a short amount of time,” said Miller, who credits her chemistry teacher, Kathy Augustyn, with much of her success. “I like her teaching style and she made the class fun. We did a lot of labs in her class, and without her recommendation, I’m sure I wouldn’t have gotten the internship.”

At school, Miller is vice president of her junior class, works on the school newspaper, and is a member of mathletes, Scholastic Bowl, International Club and peer tutoring. She’s also a member of the freshman mentor program.

Incoming freshmen at Evergreen Park High School would do well to follow Miller’s example. As a freshman, she was named the English Student of the Year and the Math Student of the Year. As a sophomore, she was named Social Studies and English Student of the Year.

She was chosen for these awards based on her grades and teacher recommendations.

“I was proudest of the social studies honor because that was the one class I tried the hardest in,” said Miller, the daughter of Joseph and Susan Miller, of Evergreen Park.

For fun, she enjoys cheerleading and has been on the varsity cheerleading team since her freshman year. This past summer, she coached a recreational cheerleading team through the village of Evergreen Park.

“I really like cheerleading,” she said. “I like going to practice after school.”

Miller is thinking about a career in science, technology, engineering or mathematics.

“Right now, I’m looking at architecture or architectural engineering. I haven’t taken physics yet, so I’ll see if I like physics after I take it this year,” she said.

Keeping her grades at the top is a major motivation.

“I really want to go to a good college, so I’m trying to do all I can to get accepted,” she said. “When it comes time to applying to places, I don’t want to think, ‘I could have done more.’ ”



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