2018 Best & Brightest: Sara Miller, Washington University (Olin)

Sara Miller

Washington University (Olin)

“Passionate and curious, hardworking and persistent.”

Fun fact about yourself: My nine-year stint as a vegetarian began when I was dared to be vegetarian for a week by my best friend in middle school.

Hometown: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

High School: Nicolet High School

Major: Healthcare Management

Minor: Psychology

Favorite Business Course: Women in Leadership – I learned from female industry leaders facing challenges in the workplace due to their gender. I acquired strategies to express my opinions with confidence, navigate the work environment, and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Founder and President of SODA: Student Organ Donation Advocates
  • Co-founder and Vice President of HxB: Health By Business
  • Member of the business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi
  • Member of the social sorority Chi Omega
  • One of HerCampus’s 22 Under 22 Most Inspiring College Women in 2016
  • One of Alpha Kappa Psi’s 40 under 40 in 2017

Where have you interned during your college career? Two summers ago, I was a researcher at Adi National Transplant Center in Tel Aviv, Israel, where I surveyed Arabs and Jews throughout Israel and analyzed Israel’s unique laws surrounding organ donation. The following summer, I worked as a Healthcare Management Intern at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City where I worked on improving the patient experience.

Where will you be working after graduation? Following my graduation in December, I began working as a Health Systems and Process Improvement Analyst at Mount Sinai Health System in New York City. In this role, I assist in analyzing hospital practices and processes, with the goal of initiating culture change and improving patient care and experience.

Who is your favorite professor? During my sophomore year, I developed a passion for debating complex medical ethics questions in my Biomedical Ethics course with Professor Charlie Kurth. He nurtured my interest through spirited class discussions and many in-depth discussions after class. In his role as advisor for my summer research project, he provided invaluable support as I conducted research on organ donation in Tel Aviv, Israel. In addition to being intelligent and caring, he encourages his students, including me, to challenge the status quo. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with him during college and am looking forward to keep in touch with him following graduation.

What did you enjoy most about your business school? I enjoyed interacting with the students in the Olin Business School, because each of them seemed to be passionate about a different topic. Their diverse interests expanded my interest and knowledge beyond business and healthcare.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Don’t be scared by the word “networking”; networking means relationship-building, which is a critical skill for creating a successful career. Also, read and respond to emails promptly. Be responsive and dependable. Take advantage of opportunities which present themselves, such as conferences, speakers, and social events.

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be majoring in or studying…psychology because I love understanding what impacts people’s decision-making.”

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? When I was 12-years-old, my older sister, Laura, passed away suddenly from a cancerous brain tumor. Her liver saved a woman’s life in New York. The devastating loss of Laura, combined with the miraculous story of her having saved a life, has motivated me to advocate on behalf of organ donation, and hopefully save more lives.

I am proud of the organization I founded, SODA: Student Organ Donation Advocates, and the way the organization has empowered others to share their passion for donation. Since its creation over three years ago, we have hosted dozens of events, initiated hundreds of organ donation registrations, and educated thousands of people. I love working with the team of students at Wash U and starting new chapters of SODA on other campuses. By leading an effort to mobilize passionate students, I can be part of a life-saving movement, and at the same time show others that even through the darkest times, one can find hope.

For more information about this organization, click here.

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the business school? I would encourage students to give me feedback on their classwork and other areas that could be improved upon. When I was a sophomore, I was intent on ensuring that all students receive a fair, unbiased grade on assignments and tests. I suggested to the dean that the school should consider using anonymous grading. This past semester, anonymous grading was rolled out across all courses.

Which classmate do you most admire? Emily and Anisha, two of my classmates (and friends!), come to mind. They both hold leadership roles in their sorority, participate in community service projects on a weekly basis, and excel in school. They are both abroad right now, exploring Australia while continuing their studies in business. I admire them because they are passionate and engaged while being friendly and open.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I feel thankful for having a supportive family that encourages me to dream big about the future. I love that they challenge me when my ideas are impractical but support me when I have a plan and purpose. I am excited to watch as my younger sister, Rachel, begins college next year and to cheer her on as she begins her next big step.

What would your theme song be? “Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson, not just because I loved the song growing up, but because I love the message – it’s always possible to find hope even when the odds seem against you.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? I am working right now with two professors to publish my research from Israel; getting the research published in a major medical journal is definitely on my bucket list. I also hope to have the chance to spend a year traveling, exploring Southeast Asia, New Zealand, and South America.

Favorite book: The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

Favorite movie: Pay it Forward

Favorite vacation spot: Tel Aviv, Israel

What are your hobbies? Learning Hebrew, doing yoga, playing tennis, and cooking.

What made Sara such an invaluable member of the Class of 2018?

“Sara was a truly outstanding student and exemplifies the best that Olin has to offer. It is the rare undergraduate who conducts her own survey and then uses the data to write a paper (on attitudes towards organ donation) that is publishable in a good medical journal. Moreover, Sara’s commitment to promoting organ donation is inspiring to all who interact with her. She is one of the two or three best students I have taught in my 21 years at Washington University.”

Barton Hamilton
Robert Brookings Smith Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship
Washington University in St. Louis, Olin Business School

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