Sue Ellen Miller Headshot

WOUB Member Spotlight: Sue Ellen Miller

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Miller has been a member of WOUB since 1988

ATHENS, OH – Sue Ellen Miller says she doesn’t really remember a time in her life when she wasn’t paying attention to and analyzing the news.

“When I was in elementary school, our teacher made us watch the news and then write up the information we had just heard,” said Miller. “It made me pay attention and be more critical of the information I was hearing.”

The 76-year-old New Marshfield woman appreciates the quality, in-depth reporting she gets when consuming public media, and that is one of the main reasons why she is a supporter of WOUB. Miller says she listens to NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday, Morning Edition, All Things Considered and 1A while eating breakfast, driving in the car, or working in her woodshop.

“The stories on WOUB are more in depth. I need to know context. I also appreciate being able to email WOUB staff with questions,” Miller said with a laugh. “I became a member during a pledge drive to support the kind of news stories I like. They talk about having ‘driveway moments’ where you sit in your car in your driveway to hear the end of an NPR story. I’ve done that lots of times!”

Miller graduated from Barboursville High School in Barboursville, WV in 1963. She went on to college at the University of Kentucky and graduated in 1967 earning a degree in physical education with a minor in agriculture. Miller received her master’s degree from Ohio State University in 1969 and her PED from Indiana University-Bloomington in 1980 in adapted physical education, with a minor in business.

Miller began her teaching career at Ronceverte Elementary, Ronceverte, West Virginia in 1967. After her MS degree, she spent a year as an intern working at Foxcroft School, Middleburg, VA. Her work entailed caring for school and private horses, and in exchange, she learned dressage, stadium jumping, and cross-country hunting under the tutelage of British and American instructors. Miller received her Potomac Horsemastership Certificate after three days of teaching, written and practical tests.

“My career path is kind of all over the place,” said Miller chuckling.

From 1970-74, Miller taught and coached in Charlotte, North Carolina, and during the 1972-73 year, she was one of 122 selected as an exchange teacher to Great Britain. She worked in Aberbargoed, Wales, which she calls the “Appalachia” of Wales. She taught and coached ages 11-18.

“I learned so much there. I had to learn to drive roundabouts while sitting on the right side of the car and driving on the left side of the road.”

Miller was introduced, along with other American teachers, to the Queen Mother by then Minister of Education, Margaret Thatcher. Miller points out that prior to this meeting, she had to buy a big pale pink hat, and learn and practice a curtsy. She also got a chance to see the Berlin Wall and Checkpoint Charlie while overseas.

“I also remember being taken on a tour of the House of Parliament, and I got separated from my group. So, when I caught up and went in the House of Commons, the tour guide was already talking and explaining things. So, I just went in and plopped myself down in a seat to listen. I was later told that an announcement was made when the group first entered the room that Winston Churchill sat in the seat I had chosen, and no one was supposed to sit there.”

Miller came to Athens to work at Ohio University in 1980 and never left. She loves the hills and beauty of this part of Ohio. It feels like home to her and allows her to be close to her family in West Virginia. In 1984, Miller moved “out to the boonies” on 56 acres and an old farmhouse near New Marshfield. The 56 acres grew to 176 acres, mostly from landlocked properties, 95% of which is forest land. In 1990, Miller and her partner, Marilyn, served as general contractors for their Tri-County carpentry class house. This experience prepared her to become an active volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. She has helped with houses in Glouster, Jacksonville, Nelsonville, New Marshfield, and Athens. She also used her background and training in physical education and disabilities to officiate volleyball and serve as Area 8 Special Olympics track and field meet organizer. Currently Miller operates the scoreboard for Ohio University Women’s Basketball games. She also enjoys working two food pantries.