Chad Miller, GS’07
Please briefly describe your current position in more detail, including your responsibilities and job tasks
My current role is to connect current undergraduate and graduate Columbians to the arts and culture taking place on campus and around the city, whether students want to see the arts or produce their own events or exhibitions. Through our monthly Lunch With The Arts Initiative series, I bring together students who network with each other to share their resources and ideas. I also oversee our social media campaigns on Facebook and Twitter, which connect over 2500 Columbians to Arts Initiative programs. Additionally, I meet with individuals, student groups, and councils to discuss funding opportunities available to them through The Gatsby Charitable Foundation Student Arts Support Fund.
Please briefly describe your career path, including the reasons behind job changes, since graduating from Columbia University
My career path has actually been several paths - sometimes diverging while oftentimes converging. I am a reformed actor, who moved here 15 years ago to pursue a career in the arts. In 2001, I decided to return to school to finish my degree, which happened to be Neuroscience. Because I was working full-time at MTV Networks in media planning, it became difficult to commit myself fully to both tasks. I would start my mornings at school, then go to work, then go back to school, then return for work until the late evening. I knew that I needed to keep my job to pay for school, so I changed my major to Religion, which was, to me, also a study of the mind and the perfect complement to my love of history and mythology.
How did your experiences at Columbia University (e.g., academic studies, extra-curricular activities, student groups) prepare you for your career?
My experiences at Columbia definitely helped provide a foundation for my current position at the Arts Initiative. As the VP of Student Life for the GSSC, I worked alongside council members and students from across the four undergraduate schools, as well as with school administrators and the University Senate. By cultivating and building relationships with these individuals over a number of years, I was in a unique position to help the Arts Initiative deepen their relationships with these individuals and their respective organizations or departments after I graduated. My experiences and presentations in classroom seminars and council meetings also helped develop my public speaking skills and gave me the confidence to present my academic arguments or ideas on how students could work together. Outside of the classroom, I also worked as a Peer Mentor for General Studies, which continually refreshed my understanding of what it meant to experience the University from other vantage points. I also volunteered with the Amen Interfaith Project to promote religious tolerance and acceptance on campus and co-led NY Cares events for students interested in volunteering their time towards a common good.
What job resources (internships, summer opportunities, work experiences, or individuals) have influenced your career choice(s)?
My past life as reformed actor and former MTV Networks employee certainly paved the way for my work in the arts. I am also very passionate about sustainable development. I am currently pursuing an MS in Fundraising Management so that I can help arts organizations attract the funds they need to support their projects, while also working with them to promote sustainable development practices.
What advice would you give to a Columbia student or graduate interested in your field?
The arts are an incredible medium and offer multiple media to discover and rediscover yourself. Personally, they have taught me that I do not have to stay the same as well. As the arts are ever-changing, so should we be. We have to give ourselves the freedom to explore new ideas and pursuits, whether supplementing our education through these pursuits or forging new paths. Take risks. Make mistakes. Act first, and apologize later.
Perhaps the best piece of advice is that advice is only relative. My journey is not your journey, but we can all learn from and with each other. So listen much, laugh much, and create even more.