• Campus: Indianapolis
• Expected Graduation Date: May 2023
• Degree of Study: Biology
In 2019, Jayla Miller was five years out of Plainfield High School – where she graduated with honors – and holding down a job when she had a baby boy who would become the center of her life. She also had a revelation: she wanted to go to college, and she wanted to be a scientist.
“I have always had an aptitude for understanding life sciences and I knew I would like to study that field more than any other topic,” Jayla said recently. “I’ve always been interested in health and nutrition and biology, so it made sense to pursue higher education, possibly as a lab scientist or biomedical scientist.”
Today, Jayla is ready to make an impact – one that could affect countless lives in Indiana and around the world.
Once she finishes her biology course work at Ivy Tech in the spring, she plans to continue studying biology at IUPUI in the Fall of 2023. Jayla hopes to eventually work at pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Company or another life sciences company where she can focus on ground-breaking drug discovery.
“It piques my curiosity to know how things are discovered in medicine and nutrition,” Jayla said. “I was studying biology in 2020, which was a rough year for everyone. As discoveries started to come around for COVID-19, such vaccines, I understood the logistics. It sparked my interest. I thought I would love to work for the CDC or the World Health Organization to help in these important areas.”
Jayla is the first person in her family to enter college. She chose Ivy Tech because of its convenience – she could continue to live at home and take care of her son – and because it was cost effective. Today, she benefits from Circle of Ivy, which creates resources and raises funds to diminish barriers to higher education for students at Ivy Tech. Jayla also is a recipient of the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust scholarship.
“I grew up around some adversity and I never thought I could afford college,” Jayla said. “At first, I wished I could share in other people’s experiences of living on campus. But Ivy Tech has so many things to offer and lately I have found myself getting more and more involved. It’s great to be shaping this experience for myself. I am really enjoying it.”
Jayla credits her mother for teaching her how to be resilient and to persevere through challenging times. She also taught Jayla how to handle life’s challenges while raising a son and pursuing an education.
The payoff may be sooner than anyone realizes.
“I am learning the basics of biological processes at Ivy Tech, and I will further my understanding of those techniques at IUPUI,” Jayla said. “Broadly, I hope to work in a lab, behind the scenes, in health science. Potentially, I want to make discoveries or be recognized as someone who has discovered something that will help future generations of people.”
Hear more of her story>>