“Don’t Be Afraid to Chase What Makes You Excited” Words of wisdom from a Google Master and Applied E
Name: Dr. Steve Miller
Years with the University: Dr. Miller started at the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities in September 2015 and has spent the past 1 ½ years in the Department of Applied Economics. Before joining the university, he spent 5 years at Google mapping parts of the ocean floor at Google Maps, and was then a volunteer with Mission Blue/Deep Search Foundation before getting his PhD at University of California Santa Barbara.
Why did you choose to go the university route, and why the U of M? Dr. Miller was excited to come to University for the research opportunities and to work at the intersection of economics and resource management. When considering university employment, there were a few considerations that lead Dr. Miller here. His wife was working in the Institute on the Environment, and he got very excited over some of the other people in the department. With ApEc being in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resources Sciences, Miller was excited about the opportunity to meld economics and “other” sciences practically. “The applied piece of economics here is very accurate. You are applying your knowledge to real world issues every day. What I like about this department is that everyone cares about the questions, and figures out the methods later. There is also great opportunity and environment to work across departments.”
Current projects/research: Having a unique background in computer science offers Miller many opportunities others may miss. He is currently using machine learning tools to uncover differences in effectiveness across systems, and hopes that unifying computer science and economics will allow him to delve deeper into research in natural resources and energy development. Right now, he is considering the effectiveness of cap and trade resource management.
Advice for ApEc students: “Don’t be afraid to chase what makes you excited. Don’t be afraid of not knowing enough, because once you get beyond your comfort zone you will be able to really grow and find the experiences you want. People are willing to engage and help you figure things out, if only you seek them out.”
What is your favorite thing students do? “I absolutely love teaching, and there is freedom to build unique programs. The students also push me to learn the material more or continue to expand. The students help me learn, and it is great to help show them how they can apply their passions”