Accomplishments in academics, research, community service earn ASU graduate Impact Award
Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2023 graduates.
A fascination with satellites and space exploration technology lured Leslie Miller into engineering — specifically, she said, “the vast opportunities electrical engineering has to offer.”
Climate and the campus atmosphere drew her to Arizona State University to study in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.
“I loved the warm weather,” Miller said, adding that Palm Walk on the Tempe campus “was also a major selling point.”
But she began her college studies with some trepidation.
“In high school I struggled academically in some courses,” Miller said. “At times, I felt uncertain about my ability to succeed in a rigorous engineering program. But since coming to ASU, I have had a transformative experience in the Fulton Schools, which has helped me overcome significant challenges and develop a passion for engineering that I never thought possible.”
That transformation came largely by getting involved in a variety of ventures beyond her coursework.
Miller received an undergraduare Impact Award from the Fulton Schools.
She has also served as an undergraduate teaching assistant, coauthored research papers and completed a National Science Foundation-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates program in the Fulton Schools’ Sensor Signal and Information Processing , or SenSIP, Center, in which she coauthored a patent pre-disclosure.
In addition to her academic performance in Barrett, The Honors College, Miller had leading roles in student organizations. She served on committees of the ASU chapter of the Society of Women Engineers and joined in a Fulton Schools Engineering Projects in Community Service effort to design housing for low-income families.
She was also president of the ASU student chapter of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers honor society, Eta Kappa Nu, and helped to establish an outreach event to benefit the nonprofit Feed My Starving Children. Outside of ASU activities, she was a volunteer for the Foundation for Blind Children.
She was also awarded several scholarships, including the U.S. Department of Defense SMART Scholarship for Service, the Society of Women Engineers Phoenix Section Scholarship and the GE Award scholarship.
Miller said these experiences prepared her for summer internships she completed with the U.S. Space Force. She worked with the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch team and the L3Harris vision technology project to develop a hosted payload interface unit.
After graduation, Miller will remain at ASU to expand her education through the Fulton Schools accelerated master’s degree in electrical engineering program. After completing those studies, she plans to move to Los Angeles to work as an engineer for the Space Force.
Miller attributed much of her future success to what she learned from Andreas Spanias, a Fulton Schools professor of electrical engineering and the director of SenSIP.
“Professor Spanias played a vital role in developing my research and presentation skills and my self-confidence,” she said. “He has been an incredible role model. I would not have earned this Impact Award without him.”
She is also grateful for the guidance provided by Fulton Schools electrical engineering doctoral student Glen Uehara, her SenSIP mentor.
“Glen helped me grow as an engineer and an individual,” Miller said. “He helped me develop into a leader.”