AU Press Releases

2013 Miller Outstanding Seniors named

Jordyn Larkins and Sam Miller

Jordyn Larkins and Sam Miller

Jordyn Larkins, who is majoring in communication studies and Spanish in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, and Samuel Miller, a materials science and engineering major in the Inamori School of Engineering, are this year’s recipients of the Marlin Miller Outstanding Senior Awards at Alfred University (AU).

Larkins and Miller will receive their awards, which include a handcrafted tile and a $5,000 check, at Alfred University’s annual Honors Convocation Friday, April 26. They will also speak at Commencement May 18.

Outstanding seniors – one man and one woman – are chosen each year by a campus-wide committee on the basis of scholarship, extracurricular leadership and personal character. Faculty, staff and students may nominate candidates for the award.

“Jordyn and Sam are truly well rounded, positive and successful students that the Marlin Miller award was established to honor,” said Kathy Woughter, vice president for Student Affairs. “Both have been captains of varsity athletic teams, graduates of our leadership programs (the Women’s Leadership Academy for Jordyn and the Gary Horowitz Leadership Development Program for Sam), leaders in community service and exceptional scholars.  More than that, though, is the solid commitment both Jordyn and Sam have to mentoring younger students, and sharing their love for AU with others. I am proud and pleased to call them our 2013 Outstanding Seniors.”

Her four years at Alfred University have taught her to be a leader, said Larkins.  When she arrived on campus as a freshman, “I tried to be very active and involved in extracurricular activities,” and that allowed her to hone her leadership skills.

She is the student representative for the Class of 2013 Opportunity Program students. Being elected by her peers to represent them “meant a lot to me. It showed me that students from my class trust me and my judgment …and were willing to allow me to be their voice.”

Larkins is captain of the women sprinters on the track team, and has helped to built the cadre of women sprinters who belong to the team. In her freshman year, Larkins was one of the only women sprinters, but each year, she recruited more. She has tried to be a role model for the others in practice and in the classroom. “I am very proud of the team as a whole,” she said, but she takes pride in “seeing the girls grow and mature just as I did during the course of four years.”

An opportunity to present her research paper, “An analysis of masculinity in Los Lunes al Sol and Smoking Room,” at the Penn York Undergraduate Research Conference  allowed her to refine her public speaking skills.

Larkins is a member of Phi Sigma Iota, the modern languages honor society, and of Phi Beta Kappa, a national honor society for liberal arts majors. Being inducted into the two honor societies “serves as a testament that hard work and sacrifice truly pays off,” said Larkins.  She was selected to participate in the Women’s Leadership Academy.

She serves on the advising committee for the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, and is a member of the AU Gospel group.

Larkins has been a summer public relations intern with the Rochester Rhinos professional soccer team; an operations assistant with the Children’s Youth and Learning Initiative at Alfred University; a guest relations host at the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester; a camp counselor for the Community Place of Rochester and an entrepreneur at Art Peace in Rochester.

A graduate of Allendale Columbia School in Rochester, Larkins is the daughter of Muriel Larkins of Rochester.

“Alfred University is as much a part of me as I am of it, considering the mark that AU’s faculty, staff and students have made on me,” said Miller, who earlier this month also received at State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Excellence.

“When I host students overnight, take them on tours, or talk at fall or spring visit days, I always use the same word to describe Alfred: Community,” Miller added. “We make sure you are not just an athlete, bookworm or artist. The Alfred community takes you in and helps mold you into the person you want to be. Alfred gives you things you can’t measure – friends and a support system, a home away from home, career opportunities. I hope I’ve been able to give back to the Alfred community as much as it has given to me.”

While his primary focus has been on academics – Miller received the Scholes Award for the highest grade point average among freshmen engineers and the 2012 Faculty Award for Outstanding ceramic engineering and materials science senior -- he said he’s gotten much more than a degree at Alfred.

Raised on a small family farm in a rural community in Ohio, Miller said at Alfred University he was exposed “to a range of diversity I had never experienced…people of many races, nationalities and religions [as well as] students with different interests from each of the colleges,” and he found friends among them all. He participated in Drawn to Diversity as a sophomore, creating a game that taught the pros and cons of hydrofracking.  His project earned him as nomination for the Richard V. Bergren Student Innovation Award.

Involved with a number of campus organizations, Miller is a member of Tau Beta Pi, the national engineering honor society; an officer of Keramos, the ceramic engineering honor society; and president of Material Advantage, the materials science club. He coordinated a student trip to the Materials Science and Technology conference, and arranged for club programs. He also helped with the club’s outreach to local elementary school students to teach them about materials science. He has had two articles published in the American Ceramic Society Bulletin.

Miller has been a research assistant to Scott Misture, professor of materials science at Alfred University and to John Olesik, director of the Trace Element Research Laboratory at Ohio State. He has been a summer research assistant at Corning Incorporated and at Owens Corning, and worked with the Alfred University Career Development Center as an engineering research assistant.

He is a member of the Newman Club and has participated in several community service events, including a monthly soup kitchen. Through the AU Honors Program, he also did community service projects, including assistance to senior citizens on home maintenance tasks and a clean-up at Foster Lake. He has been an Honors Program “Big Brother” and a member of the Saxon Sidekicks peer mentoring program.

Captain of the men’s varsity soccer team, Miller was a member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee and the search committee for a new athletics director. He was named a NSCAA Scholar Athlete and received an Empire 8 Sportsmanship Award.

Miller is the son of Aaron and Melissa Miller of Kinsman, OH. He is a graduate of Badger High School.

Along with a hand-crafted tile made by Wayne Higby, an internationally acclaimed artist and professor of ceramic art in the School of Art & Design at AU, Larkins and Miller will receive $5,000 in cash, thanks to an endowment created by Robert L. MacNeil Jr. of Wyndmoor, PA, a friend and business colleague of Marlin Miller, who is a 1954 alumnus of Alfred University as well as a member and former chairman of the Board of Trustees.

While Alfred University has for many years presented outstanding senior awards to the man and woman in each class, in 2004 the awards were named in honor of Marlin Miller Jr.