Emma Miller has been named one of 20 U.S. and Canadian high school students to receive the 2013 Education First Global Citizen Scholarship.
The award will allow Miller the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica in April to experience the Central American country’s diverse ecosystems as she studies environmental initiatives put in place by government leaders in that region.
“This is a big honor to be chosen,” said Miller, a junior at Puyallup High School. “It’s almost shocking to see how they described us, that they recognized us as global leaders.”
Shane Steffens, president of EF Educational Tours, said the 2013 class of Global Citizen Scholars is an “impressive group of high school students from across the U.S. and Canada who represent the next generation of global leaders.”
“Each scholar has a unique passion for the environment,” he said. “They recognize the global connectedness of the world in which we live, and they’re prepared to tackle global environmental challenges together.”
The 10-day educational tour will culminate in a two-day leadership summit, where students will come up with solutions to significant environmental issues. The two-day summit also will include keynote speeches by former Vice President Al Gore, former Costa Rican President Dr. Oscar Arias and noted environmental advocate Severn Cullis-Suzuki.
Three years ago, Miller discovered the scholarship opportunity on Education First’s Facebook page. She’s applied for it each year since.
This year, she submitted a three-minute video she submitted, filmed by her 10-year-old brother, Aidan, and it documented her passion for environmental and sustainable design practices.
Hundreds of submissions were accepted, and a group of global education experts selected students through a series of assessments and interviews. Students were selected based on their creativity, ability to think outside the box and their demonstration of global citizenship.
Miller said she applied to be a scholar in order to fuel her love for videography.
“I am drawn to filmmaking: capturing the atmosphere of life on a screen,” Miller wrote in her submission essay. “Through motion picture, I hope to expose people to the power of venturing out of daily life and ignite in them a passion to explore. I am most interested in traveling to the places of which life takes me. I cannot pick a single point on the map. The entire globe is filled with wonderful people, cultures and landscapes. Traveling is education’s best professor.”
Miller is the photo editor at Puyallup High School’s Vanguard student newspaper. She hopes she can incorporate videography and photography during the two-day leadership summit, during which she and other students will develop solutions for global environmental concerns.
“A global leader is someone who can change the world for the better, and wants to and also has the initiative to do so,” Miller said.
Natalie and Brent Miller, Emma’s parents, are excited for their daughter’s opportunity.
“We’re thrilled she got recognition for all the hard work she has done,” Natalie Miller said. “It’s nice to see she gets this opportunity.”
Brent Miller said they are “enthusiastic about expanding Emma’s world view and her having that opportunity to travel.”
“It makes the world a smaller place when you can visit and experience other cultures,” Natalie Miller said.
Emma said she’s looking forward to visiting with Gore, if the opportunity presents itself.
“I think I will ask him how he got started, and how he got interested in environmental issues,” she said.
Reporter Andrew Fickes can be reached at 253-552-7001 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @herald_andrew.