Mia Milne UAH Sociology senior recipient of Georgia State University Fellowship

Mia Milne

UAH's Mia Milne is the recipient of a five year Sociology PhD Fellowship at Georgia State University.

Michael Mercier | UAH

Mia Milne has always been keenly interested in other people’s lives, and how they live. It wasn’t until her senior year of high school that she discovered the academic name for her avid curiosity — Social Sciences.

An Honors College student, double majoring in Sociology and Psychology with a minor in Women and Gender Studies at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), she graduates on Sunday, May 6. Milne, who maintained a near perfect grade point average while attending UAH was honored as the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences 2018 Outstanding Student, and she received the Outstanding Sociology Major Award. Milne has been accepted to the PhD Sociology Program at Georgia State University (GSU) with full funding for five years.

"Other cultures have always fascinated me but my interest in Social Sciences really developed during my first year at UAH. I took my first Sociology class and became more involved with URGE (Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity). Both of these experiences taught me so much about inequalities throughout history and today," Milne said. "Sociology taught me the theory while URGE showed me direct actions individuals can take. I believe theory and activism are important. It's easy to get discouraged if you only focus on large, systemic issues that almost seem too complex to fix, but if you only focus on what you can do as an individual then you can miss the big picture that's needed to make lasting change."

Born and raised in Mobile, AL, Milne attended W.P. Davidson High School. At Davidson, she took honors and advanced placement classes. Milne received a partial UAH Merit and Robert E. James Psychology scholarships to attend the university.

While she and her mother were visiting relatives in Huntsville, they decided to visit the UAH campus. "I toured the school and was impressed by the campus and the programs offered. I was especially impressed by all the undergraduate research opportunities. I began attending UAH during the fall semester of 2015."

The thought of going to classes and getting the opportunity to work on research projects at UAH solidified Milne’s decision to attend the university. "All throughout high school I was enrolled in an Engineering curriculum called, EPIC. I stayed in the program until I graduated but dropped down to the less intense path. Engineering is a great field for some people but not for me."

Milne said her UAH classes were "challenging and stressful at times" but the interesting subjects made it easier to get the work done. "I have been inspired by multiple faculty members. Dr. Richard Simon (Assistant Professor, Sociology) and Dr. Sandra Carpenter (Professor, Psychology) both gave me opportunities to help with their research. Dr. Christina Steidl (Assistant Professor, Sociology) was my advisor and she was an essential help with the graduate school application process," she said. "Dr. Suzy Friedman (Lecturer, English) used to meet with two other students and I at a coffee shop to discuss foundational feminist texts. Dr. Nicole Pacino (Assistant Professor, History) was the advisor for URGE and is passionate about encouraging critical thinking in her students. All of these professors have given me great advice and opportunities I might not have had at other universities."

Milne’s undergraduate research projects include collaboration with Richard Simon, and design of an original Sociology Capstone research project. The assignments explore the salience and impact of sexual orientation in the lives of college students. Results from Milne’s research have been presented at two Southern Sociological Society meetings in 2017 and 2018, and will soon be published in an article she has co-authored with Richard Simon.

"Mia’s research explores sexual identity and experiences of college students. She designed a survey for this purpose, gathered original data and analyzed the results using sophisticated multivariate statistical methods," said Dr. Bhavani Sitaraman, Associate Professor and UAH Department Chair of Sociology. "I am impressed with Mia’s passion for sociological research, and her ability to connect her academic interests with active engagement in organizations that advocate for these issues," added Sitaraman.

In addition to her research projects, Milne has won second place in the Kathryn L. Harris Women and Gender Studies Writing Competition two years in a row. She also serves as a tutor for Sociology and Psychology courses at the UAH Student Success Center.

Milne is in a "really happy" place as she prepares to begin her GSU doctoral program. "The graduate school application process is really long. It’s nice to know where I am going to be next year," she said. "It is also really rewarding to know that a school has enough confidence in my academic ability to fund me for five years. My plan is to conduct research in sexuality with a focus on identity, gender, and health.

"I have lots of friends and family in the Huntsville area…I’ll definitely visit. I also really want to know what the new Morton Hall will look like," said Milne.


Dr. Bhavani Sitaraman
Department of Sociology



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