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Duke Leadership: Student-Athlete of the Month
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 10/16/2009
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Gretchen Miller
Photo Courtesy: Duke Photography
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DURHAM, N.C.Gretchen Miller is a junior on the women’s soccer team who recently completed her first year of the two-year “Duke-Nike Leadership Intern Program” out in Oregon at the Nike Headquarters. Always a self starter and initiator, she inquired about the new program she had heard about via one of her teammates and ended up being selected from a very competitive application pool of other Duke Student Athlete Leaders. In addition, Gretchen has been active as the soccer team representative on SAAC for two years and is also an upper class Mentor for the First Year ACTION program. One of the most self-aware individuals, she leads by example and is known as “approachable” and called upon by numerous peers for pieces of wisdom and advice. Her commitment and follow through in all she is engaged in reflects the epitome of Duke Athletics and the Leadership program. 

Miller sat down for a quick Q&A session …

What is your major?
Gretchen Miller:
What are your future goals?
Graduate from Duke, continue playing soccer somehow, participate in some type of program to help others in need, i.e. Coach for College, Duke Engage, etc., go to some type of graduate school-don’t know which yet.

What is your favorite part of SAAC?
I really enjoy working and interacting with members of the other teams on projects and getting to know them better. I also enjoy all the opportunities to get involved with the community and make a difference in the lives of others.

Why are you a mentor?
I am a mentor because I like being able to work with the first year students and help provide them with guidance during their transition to Duke. Having gone through the same program only two years ago, I feel I can relate to them and help them work through whatever they need to.

Who is a person that has had a positive effect on you?
I am in a Military Science class right now that is focused on effective leadership and building winning teams. My professor, Mark Tribus, has challenged our class in so many ways and I am learning how to always be my best self because of it. Also, my parents have had an extremely positive effect on me because they are my support system and the people who have been the most constant throughout my life and who I rely on.

Name five things you love to do.
Being outdoors in any possible way, whether it be skiing, hiking, playing pickup sports, anything outside makes me happy, spending time with my family and just hanging out, shopping (my class would tell you I online shop too often), reading for pleasure has been something I have more recently started really enjoying and cooking, probably more baking than cooking, and I especially like making desserts. Probably not in that order though.

What is a symbol that represents you?
I don’t think there is one symbol that represents me because I am still growing all the time as a person. If I had to pick something though, I would say right now a compass has a big meaning for me personally because I am learning about who I am and which direction I want go in my life.

If you could spend an hour with anyone, who would it be? 
This is tough because there are a lot of people I would like to talk to and pick their brains, but if I had to choose one person, I would say…Lance Armstrong. The man is a machine and I’d want to see how he generates so much strength in all he does and learn from it.

What is your favorite part of Duke Athletics so far?
Being a part of such a special legacy and tradition is incredible. One of my best soccer memories of Duke is from the Sweet 16 last year at UVA. They were picked to win, but we came out with a chip on our shoulders and a point to prove. We played our best game all year and won 2-0. After the game, on the bus back to Duke, we found out we were going to UCLA to play in the Elite 8. Everybody started singing the lyrics from the OC “Californiaaa, here we come…”.  I think Robbie [Church] may have even sung a little too, it was all pretty special.
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