NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Leading by example

Nathan Miller embraces role as student advocate

In every college there is at least one person that stands out from the rest, providing a unique and memorable experience.

Nathan Miller, age 22, of Newton, NH is one of those people for NECC.

Since he came to the college in 2014 after graduating from Sanborn Regional High School, he has been involved in the Student Government Association (SGA), New Student Advocacy (NSA), Improv Club, and the Top Notch Players.

He graduated with his Associate’s in Theater in Spring 2018 and now works for NECC as a student advocate.

Miller is best known for his outgoing personality, and providing a friendly face to students and staff. He is a prominent leader on the NECC campus.

Student Life Coordinator and SGA adviser Ariel Chicklis has been Miller’s biggest influence in all things college related.

“Since he started [college], he’s been involved with SGA and has been instrumental in many clubs and organizations helping them to become founded,” says Chicklis.

Miller and Chicklis first met four years ago when he applied to be a Student Orientation Leader. 

close up picture of Nate miller leaning aganced a wall smilingPhoto by Dierdree Glassford

Nathan Miller

When asked what was the first thing she noticed in him she replied, “He had a willingness to do whatever needed to be done and always had a happy and positive outlook.”

Miller has taken on many roles in the Student Government Association, including programming chair, vice president, and president last semester.

“I never saw myself as an advocate; I knew I wanted to make a difference in the world but didn’t know how until I joined SGA,” he says. “It was not the way I had expected to be helping others. I think I have become a better leader and I see myself in a new and different light.”

Matthew Day, the current President of SGA, says that by working with Miller he has been able to improve his decision making and organization skills. 

“His work has shown me that as the SGA president, it can be formed however you think it should be formed.” says Day. “Each leader has their own methods, but Nate pushed the idea that there is a reason you are voted in, and you should utilize the good ideas you have.”

“He has so many friends on campus that all want to be around him, and they will go where he goes,” says Chicklis. “In turn he has helped improve student engagement because he has helped so many new students transition into college life.”

In 2015, Miller was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), which is an anxiety disorder that comes in the forms of intrusive or excessive thoughts that lead to repetitive behaviors. A person may have an irrational fear towards something, or uncontrollable or taboo thoughts, but hardly ever do they act them out. They instead curb these thoughts by performing repetitive tasks such as constant cleaning, talking, or arranging things in a particular order.

OCD affects every person differently, some more or less than others. But for Miller, it has not stopped him from doing what he loves.

“What really helped me is doing student orientation; by helping [students] it’s a way of helping myself.” says Miller. “My friends, family, and many more give me great strength each day.”

Another struggle Miller has had to overcome is his mother’s battle with cancer. She had been diagnosed several years ago and continues to receive treatment for it. Miller says that she is doing well at the moment.

“She is the strongest person I know, and she is the one that inspires me to do what I do.” says Miller.

Aside from being a campus leader, Miller’s other interests include theater and film. He appeared in the Top Notch Players production of “Escape from Happiness” last summer.

But his biggest interest by far is in movies. Miller will watch almost anything and enjoy the experience, no matter how good or bad it is. Some of his favorites include Star Wars, Comic Book movies (Marvel, DC) and the Tommy Wiseau cult classic, “The Room.”

Made in 2003, “The Room” has been widely regarded as “the greatest bad movie of all time.” due to the unconventional storytelling, technical and narrative flaws, and the enigma that is Wiseau himself.

Right now Miller is putting together his biggest project yet; a school dance which will be held in April 2019.

He thanks his friend Chelsea Flannigan for inspiring him to make it happen.

Miller described the theme of it being “The prom you wish you had.” eventually planning on having students donate prom dresses and dress shirts. To fund the dance, he has even contacted Tommy Wiseau inviting him to the college to host a Q&A session; however he has not heard back from him yet.

Miller has also started a YouTube channel reviewing films and TV.

He thanks Professor Biff Ward for helping him learn the technical skills that go into making videos. “I hope to be able to make my YouTube channel grow and continue working for NECC,” says Miller.

Miller says he wants to transfer his credits to UNH Manchester to study Film & Television and Political Science and also possibly receive his Master’s degree in higher education.

He says that although he is moving on, he will surely miss being at Northern Essex. “No other school could compare to the time I’ve had here.” he says. “But I am looking forward to the things I could learn at other schools.”