Not all those who wander are lost – and that is undoubtedly true for Cassidy Miller. Holding two bachelor’s degrees in Vocational Missions and Global Studies from ACU’s residential program and a Master of Education in Higher Education with a concentration in student affairs leadership from ACU Online, Cassidy’s go-lucky attitude gave her the chance to plunge into uncharted waters by applying – and winning – a Fulbright scholarship. Linking her sense of adventure with her love for world traveling, Cassidy has proven that hard work, dedication, and risk-taking pay off in the long run.
Leaving One Home For Another
Growing up in Ohio, Cassidy knew she wanted to do more than just attend college in another state. She wanted to grow, try new things, meet diverse people, and experience life, even if it led her outside of the United States. Unsure of where she would go or what she would study, Cassidy had always felt like doing something a tad out of the ordinary. For her, it all started when she received an email from an Abilene Christian University (ACU) advisor inviting her to apply. Following her instincts, Cassidy decided to travel to Texas and visit ACU one month before the school year started. Come August, she was enrolled and starting classes as a freshman at ACU.
Catching the Travel Bug
During her time at ACU, Cassidy grew fond of mission work and decided to double-major in vocational missions and global studies. Wanting to learn more about world issues, it didn’t take long for her to take advantage of ACU’s Study Abroad program, where she traveled to Oxford, England, and Leipzig, Germany, during her four years. On top of that, she also partnered with World Wide Witness, a program that offers summer missions internships to students wanting to work with ministers and local community members. Having the opportunity to apply her degree, Cassidy was fortunate enough to visit Port Alegra, Brazil, where she taught English and worked in a local church. Needless to say, Cassidy is an advocate for taking every opportunity possible to enrich your understanding of the world and yourself.
“In all of these trips, it just really reminded me that not every place is the same,” Cassidy said. “And just that no matter how much experience you have, you’re going to learn something new, and honestly, it usually finds a way of humbling you.”
After hopping from one place to another, Cassidy’s journey with world traveling – or ACU – was far from over. Upon graduation, she was offered a position as the student coordinator for the study abroad program in Montevideo, Uruguay. For the first time, she wasn’t going to experience Uruguay as a student but rather as an ACU student coordinator tasked to assist undergraduates in navigating a new country, culture, and language. Through this experience, Cassidy says she fell in love with preparing students for the “life-changing experiences they would have internationally.”
Upon return, Cassidy quickly rose within the ranks of the Study Abroad office and was offered the position of study board coordinator at ACU, where she guided all students toward their desired destination as well as prepared them for what they should expect – her ideal dream job.
However, her adventures were far from over.
Becoming A Master in World Traveling
It didn’t take long for Cassidy to notice something about herself. She actually liked working with students, and more importantly, she liked working in higher education. Wanting to learn more about the administrative aspects of higher education geared specifically to her type of job, Cassidy started her Master of Education in Higher Education with a concentration in student affairs leadership from ACU Online. While in the program, Cassidy was able to learn a more holistic and professional approach to consulting and leading students toward their success.
Within a few months, and close to graduation, Cassidy heard another knock on her door; it was a new chance to apply her experience and passion for student advising.
Approached by Dr. Jason Morris, Cassidy was asked if she was willing to do one more bold move – compete for the Fulbright scholarship, one of the country’s most prestigious cross-cultural programs. Uneasy about the application process, Cassidy ignored his initial messages, assuming he made a mistake. Why would she be considered for such an honor? Why would she leave her dream job for another trip?
Cassidy recalled, “I just remember he came up to me and was like, ‘why are you ignoring my messages? I really think you would be perfect for this program. You should really apply and don’t worry about your job. We are prepared to keep it on hold while you’re gone if you get accepted.’ And so, I applied. And I got in.”
In the blink of an eye, Cassidy had not only graduated from ACU Online in August 2022 but was also on a plane to the Slovak Republic, where she would be teaching English and advising students who are thinking about attending college in the United States.
“When I told my family that I was leaving again, but for the Slovak Republic, they honestly were supportive and said, ‘Yeah, that tracks. Sounds good,’” Cassidy said. “I think they are used to it. They knew that I was not going to stop anytime soon.”
Today, Cassidy is enjoying the wonders and streets of the Slovak Republic. Through meeting new people and discovering more about the world, Cassidy has learned more about herself as an individual and an American citizen. Noticing how the world is more vast and complex than what Americans understand, Cassidy is eager to see how her Fulbright experiences can inspire other students to jump into the unknown and tap into their vocational calling. In the end, Cassidy advises students to learn to trust their gut and God; knowing that all things are possible when you have a bit of confidence and faith.
Do you want to find your vocational calling like Cassidy Miller? Visit our website or call 855-219-7300 to learn how you can step into a diverse, innovative future at ACU Online.