Communications grad now speaks on behalf of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture
On August 21, 2013, senior communication major DyNishia Miller spoke to the incoming class of 800 freshmen at the University of Indianapolis. “Say yes to campus life,” she said to them, “to new friends, to new experiences. They will change your life.” When she left UIndy the following May with a diploma in hand, she didn’t realize that she was soon to have a reminder of the remarkable things that could happen by saying yes.
As a student at UIndy, DyNishia was involved with the speech team and the Black Student Association and served as a Student Ambassador for all four years. When she was encouraged by the then director of Student Activities to give the Indianapolis Student Government a try her senior year, she jumped right in—and was elected president. ISG works to improve UIndy’s campus and address the concerns of the student body by working with the University administration. The experience gave her a good foundation in politics.
“I ended up loving my work with ISG,” she says. “I had been searching for a new challenge, anyway, and I loved the ability to make a change and have an impact on campus.” DyNishia describes herself as someone who never backs down from a challenge, so when graduation was nearing and she didn’t yet have a full-time job, she put her networking skills to use. She started with Corey Wilson in UIndy’s new Professional Edge Center, which provides students and recent graduates with opportunities for networking with business professionals, mentoring, coaching, skill enhancement, and internships. Gene E. Sease, University president from 1970 to 1988, happened to be visiting with Wilson on the day when DyNishia stopped by. He had a chat with her—and left with her résumé in hand.
From there it was a flurry of activity.
“DyNishia met with Dr. Sease, his business partners, his son David Sease ’77 (a trustee), and, Lou Gerig (one-time public relations director at the University), who had connections with several people in the governor and lieutentant governor’s office,” she explains. “I ended up meeting with the lieutentant governor’s chief of staff the Monday before graduation, and I was also asked to apply for and was offered a job in the state personnel department. As it turns out, my résumé ended up in the Indiana State Department of Agriculture’s office, and I was asked if I’d like to apply to be their press secretary.”
DyNishia had a phone interview with the ISDA on a Tuesday and an in-person interview on Wednesday. She was offered the job on the spot, less than two weeks after Commencement. “I never would have thought to have looked into a job like this,” she says, “but because of my experience with the student government and my communication background, I found it to be a great fit.”
As press secretary for the ISDA, DyNishia helps to create talking points for the director or the lieutenant governor, writes press releases and speeches, works with social media, serves as a media contact, and helps with other ISDA projects, such as the Indiana State Fair. “People around here refer to the State Fair as our Super Bowl,” she says with a laugh. During the fair, she helped with the ISDA photo contest (the theme this year was changing seasons) and worked to process the applications and design materials for the semiannual Hoosier Homestead Awards given out each year at the fair. “I have a passion for helping people, which I can do through the government,” she says. “It’s funny how my life at UIndy and the choices I made back then interact with my life now,” DyNishia says. “For all the hard work I put into UIndy, they’ve given it back to me.”