Ballard Memorial High School senior Jake Miller has set goals for his future. He wants to study biomedical engineering and later go on to become a physiatrist, or a doctor of physical medicine and rehabilitation.
“I’ve always really, really, really liked math, but I’m planning on entering the health care industry. I actually want to be a doctor by the end of things, but in between I had to pick a major that kind of satisfied that health care side and something that I still liked doing — in this case, the math,” he said.
“And so, biomedical engineering is just a way to kind of fulfill both of those passions, I guess you could say.”
The 17-year-old student received some inspiration from close to home, when it comes to the medical specialty. He said his aunt, Sarah Wagers, is a physiatrist and his mother is a physical therapist assistant.
“A physiatrist takes like physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and kind of heads up all of that sort of thing. And so, they would examine the neurological aspects of someone, and then give them physical exercises — just delegate if they were going to need physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy — that kind of thing,” Miller said.
Miller said he’s interested in physiology, or the mechanics of the body, and also in the brain.
“I just love interacting with people and, actually, at a younger age, I was pretty introverted,” he added.
“I didn’t talk to people much, and once I got into high school, started doing things, getting more involved and what not — talk to people, meeting people and I just realized how much I like working one on one with people. I think the doctor-patient interaction would be great for me.”
Miller, son of John and Kelley Miller of LaCenter, is the Paducah Bank Teen of the Week.
Every Tuesday, The Sun publishes articles on area high school seniors who were chosen from a group of nominees for Teen of the Week recognition. Around the end of the school year, a selection committee will name one of these students as Teen of the Year, which carries a $5,000 scholarship. Another student will receive the Inspiration Award and a $1,000 scholarship.
At Ballard Memorial, Miller has earned a 4.0 cumulative unweighted GPA.
He also attended the Kentucky Governor’s Scholars Program this past summer at Bellarmine University, and had a health care industry focus area. In school, Miller serves as student council president and participates in Future Business Leaders of America and Beta Club. He plays tennis and golf for the Bombers, and played one year on the basketball team, as a junior.
He said tennis is his favorite, and cited defeating his father at tennis as one of his proudest moments in the sport.
“It’s not really a team sport, and I think that’s what I like about it so much,” Miller said. “It’s that it’s all on me, but that’s what makes it hard, too, which is why I like it. I might be playing somebody really good, but the mistakes that I made, they’re on me — they’re not on my teammates.”
As for senior year, Miller has found the extracurricular activities to be fun and shared a couple of his goals: he wants to reach valedictorian status and he would really like to go to state this year for tennis.
Overall, he described the prospect of graduating high school as bittersweet.
“I’m going to miss the people here and people in my class and stuff, but I’m ready to go,” he said.
“I’m ready to get on with things, and start working toward my goals, and I think GSP is part of that, or is partly why I feel that way, because seeing what it can be like, seeing that independence and ... just a little bit of what college life is like, and working alongside people that all share a common goal as you — I can’t wait to be in that environment.”
The University of Kentucky, University of Louisville and Murray State University are the three main places Miller is looking at for college right now.
By: Kelly Farrell