Alumni Spotlight: Jeffrey Miller
"I’d say your time at TEA shows you that you can pretty much have whatever kind of life you want."
Jeffrey Miller (Class of 2018) joined Tahoe Expedition Academy as a 9th grader. He was one of a handful of truly brave souls who enrolled in our extremely new High School program. His time at TEA saw many structural pivots. We weren’t just adjusting altitude and improving wing designs back then, we were deciding whether to be a helicopter, a glider or a jet. Despite the challenges presented by our “continuous iterations”, Jeffrey was drawn to TEA because of our I.A.P. program, then called the Independent Adventure Program, which allowed him to pursue his love for ski racing with academic support. For his senior intensive, he built his own pair of skis!! You can watch his detailed account of the process in the video embedded below.
After graduating TEA, Jeffrey went on to pursue Chemical Engineering at the University of Colorado in Boulder. This was no easy path for a young man who had been diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD. He had to work extremely hard at every turn. In 2020 during one of our alumni panels, he shared this reflection.
“The skills that TEA gave me that carried over to college included using my resources and connecting with my professors. I’ve taken some very difficult classes and a lot of people struggled. I struggled too, but coming from TEA I was able to approach it differently. TEA taught you to fail. Things were set up to not succeed on purpose, which is a really valuable skill which every single high school misses. It allowed me to get through this brutal major.”
Jeffrey graduated with his Bachelor of Science AND received the Perseverance Award from the College of Engineering and Applied Science
And get through he did. In December of 2022, Jeffrey graduated with his Bachelor of Science AND received the Perseverance Award from the College of Engineering and Applied Science. Teaching Professor Wendy Young said she has seen Miller work hard to achieve his dreams. “Jeff has admirably pushed through many obstacles to achieve success in the chemical engineering degree.”
Jeffrey is now living and backpacking around New Zealand and shared the following reflection with us.
“My favorite thing so far is the people I have met in my travels. I initially applied to Chemical engineering when I was in High School, but was not accepted. After being accepted to the arts and science school I worked to complete a transfer into the engineering school. It seems to be pretty rare for someone to apply to an engineering major and not be accepted and then transfer over and complete the program, so I think that is where the background for the award came from. I’d say your time at TEA shows you that you can pretty much have whatever kind of life you want. I plan to stay in New Zealand for a full year, and possibly look into staying longer.”
We wish you all the best in your next chapter, Jeffrey!!!