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Student Profile

Savannah Collins Receives Alex Miller Outstanding University Scholar Award

A recent graduate who earned dual degrees in anthropology and English, Collins helped the University Scholars Program use data to improve the Scholars Forum course.

Savannah Collins in front of a brick wall
Savannah Collins

By Chester Brewer

Each year the staff of the University Scholars Program is honored to select a student to receive the Alex Miller Outstanding University Scholar award. The award is named after the former director of the University Scholars Program, Alex Miller, who led the program from its inception until his retirement in 2014.

The Alex Miller Outstanding University Scholar award recognizes a senior who best embodies the mission and spirit of the University Scholars Program. Someone, who in the wise words of Thomas Huxley, puts knowledge into action. Someone who has exhibited a significant commitment to the program, and most importantly, to its students. Someone who has had a real impact on the program and left it better.

In 2021, the University Scholars Program is delighted to bestow this honor upon Savannah Collins, a recent graduate who earned dual degrees in anthropology and English with a concentration in creative writing. During her time with the University Scholars Program, Collins served as a work-study student and helped transform how the Scholars Program captures qualitative data from the Scholars Forum course, thereby improving how the staff meets the needs of students. Her keen ability to categorize data and help reach meaningful conclusions from it was an essential asset to the program. While at NC State, she also made an impact on the NC State Wrestling team. She stated that her proudest accomplishment was filming and creating video content for the World Team Wrestling Trials that NC State hosted a few years ago. 

Of her time in the University Scholars Program, she said, “I cannot fully explain how important being a member of the Scholars Program was to me while I was an undergraduate. In a school as large as NC State, it can be hard to find a consistent community that challenges you on so many fronts while still helping you thrive in the environment of your choice, and USP was exactly the right environment for this encouragement. I always felt like I was part of something bigger, not necessarily in a philosophical way, but like I was able to be a part of this larger body of minds that have the potential to change everything they touch.”

Collins encourages other students in the program to pursue their interests at every opportunity; whether it’s a Scholars Forum event, trip or extra class. She emphasizes taking advantage of these low-stakes events in order to scratch the intellectual itch we all experience.  

Now that she has graduated, she plans to take a gap year in preparation for law school. The staff of the University Honors and Scholars Programs wish her well in all her future endeavors and will miss seeing her around the office.

Previous winners of the Alex Miller Outstanding University Scholar Award include:

  • 2020: Caleb Drum
  • 2018: Mitchell Moravec
  • 2017: Anna Leigh Shuping
  • 2016: Emily Nguyn
  • 2015: Kayleigh Jernigan
  • 2014: Alex Eubanks