February 1, 2018
Wheaton College senior Emily Miller of Madison, Wisconsin, was one of three students to receive the Shared Justice Student-Faculty Research Prize from the Center for Public Justice (CPJ) for her research on the effectiveness of government programs versus church networks at integrating refugee families into the local community.
Miller, an International Relations major, is the first Wheaton student to receive this award.
Miller hopes that her research will help reframe the conversation on the relationship between federal services and refugees.
"I also hope that my research will be a resource for resettlement agencies as they decide how to best partner with governmental programs in order to care for refugee women,” Miller says.
Miller initially became interested in refugee populations after spending a year living and working in refugee camps in Lebanon and Jordan. Struck by the resilience and suffering of young refugee women in these camps, she decided to direct her research closer to home.
Her semester-long project will focus on recipients of Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) in DuPage County. Miller will compare refugees who receive WIC benefits with those who do not in measures of financial and social stability.
Assistant Professor of International Relations Dr. Tim Taylor serves as Miller’s research advisor and will supervise her work on this project. The two traveled to Washington, D.C. in January to attend orientation at CPJ and receive training for their upcoming work in social safety net programs.
“Emily is a highly motivated student who is passionate about vulnerable communities living in our midst,” says Taylor. He recalls that Miller was introduced to research methodology in his International Political Economy course and flourished in independent research.
In addition to her research at Wheaton, Miller is a member of World Christian Fellowship, and she previously participated in Women’s Chorale, Middle East Club, and College Union. She volunteered with local World Relief and Exodus ministries, and recently completed an internship as Government Affairs Intern with the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Chicago.
After graduating from Wheaton, Miller hopes to study intensive Arabic and pursue a graduate degree to better prepare her to work with the legal rights issues of female refugees and asylum seekers from conflict zones.