When she graduated high school in 2016, Sophie Miller knew she wasn’t prepared to leave home and attend a large university. Instead, she found her place at Sampson Community College. There, she discovered courses and professors that challenged her and a like-minded community of students.
Making the decision to attend SCC was simple for Miller. Immediately, she saw the benefits of attending SCC—benefits like smaller classes, one-on-one relationships with professors, and a community of tight-knit peers. The accessibility of the students and staff at SCC appealed to her. “Having the smaller class sizes was really nice for me… because through that I was able to get to know my professors really well and I was able to go to their offices really often and I really used that time to get to know them and they got to know me,” Miller says.
Miller emphasizes that her time at SCC wasn’t spent “breezing through.” The coursework at Sampson Community College pushes students. Professors have high expectations and classes are rigorous. “I definitely felt like I was challenged, and that SCC prepared me,” Miller stated.
She added that some of her professors at SCC were the most challenging instructors she’s encountered during college. Those rigorous courses and instructors prepared her for coursework at North Carolina State University (NCSU), where she’ll graduate in May with a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology and double minors in microbiology and forensic science.
Still, SCC prepared Miller for more than her academics. As a recipient of the Foundation’s SCC Ambassador Scholarship, Miller spent a significant amount of time serving as a student ambassador, volunteering with different departments on campus, and working with other students. Now at NCSU, Miller volunteers as a Transfer Student Peer Mentor, helping make the transition easier for transfer students. Miller says, “So many factors help me say that Sampson was the best choice for me and helped me be prepared.”
Miller even spent time speaking at various events for the Foundation. Dean of Advancement and Executive Director of the Foundation, Lisa Turlington, says Miller’s appreciation shined through each time she spoke at events. Turlington shared these thoughts, “It was a pleasure having Sophie be involved with Foundation events. The audience appeared so moved by her enthusiasm and authenticity at each event.”
Studying at SCC allowed Miller to work part-time at Matthews Drug Store while taking classes. She saved money for her eventual move to Raleigh and NCSU, and it was there that she discovered her passion. Matthews Drug Store is where Miller developed an initial interest in pharmacy and began to commit to her goal of attending pharmacy school. Being at SCC and working at Matthews gave Miller the chance to explore pharmacy without fully committing to the process. Her time at SCC gave her the flexibility to test out different classes before choosing pharmacy, something she believes would’ve been more difficult anywhere else.
This fall, Miller will begin a dual degree program at Campbell University in Buies Creek, N.C. This is a five-year program where Miller will complete a Master of Public Health in one year and complete her Doctor of Pharmacy degree in four years. For the first year, she’ll return to work at Matthews Drug Store while completing her courses.
The choice to complete a dual degree program came down to one thing—being a better healthcare professional. Miller emphasized one main thing about including the Master of Public Health in her graduate studies, “It gives me the opportunity to work more one on one in my community in a way that benefits everyone and helps me understand what people are going through.”
When Miller was in high school, her family moved from their fast-paced world in Raleigh to rural Clinton, but she fell in love. She says this transition was “an eye-opener.” For Miller, Clinton quickly began to feel like home and became a place she cared for deeply. Ultimately, Miller wants to be an educated healthcare professional and be attuned to the needs of her community, not just a coat in a lab.
Miller advises others struggling to make the decision about college not to be hesitant. She says, “There’s so much help there at Sampson that will help guide you in the right way and the best way without wasting time…the community and the atmosphere is so amazing…don’t be afraid.”
Over the years, Sampson Community College has been a steppingstone on the academic and professional journeys of many people. For Sophie Miller, it was the beginning step on a journey that led toward North Carolina State University and now Campbell University School of Pharmacy.