Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Thursday, August 20, 2015

Miller gains tools for improving quality of life for all

Nate Miller Nate Miller

Nate Miller is developing the skillset he needs to help government maximize its effectiveness for its citizens.

“Public service is important because no individual is more important than any other,” the La Follette School student says. “I feel it is a great honor to be able to study public policy in order to sustainably maintain the livelihoods of all.”

Miller enrolled at the La Follette School through its accelerated program that enables an admitted undergraduate to complete a master's degree with a fifth year of study. “When I saw the world-class faculty and really considered my interests going forward, it was an obvious choice for me to make,” Miller says.

This summer Miller is interning with Citizen Action of Wisconsin, an issue-focused coalition of individuals and organizations committed to achieving social, economic, and environmental justice. “I am mostly doing a combination of research and statistics,” says Miller, who is working on a Master of Public Affairs degree, and a certificate in energy analysis and policy. “My coursework in statistics and policy analysis has allowed me to quickly understand changes in rules and laws that Citizen Action of Wisconsin is interested in.”

He has been building a regression model to estimate the change in health-care prices across the United States. “While we are most interested in how this will affect Wisconsinites, we'd like to create a model that any state could use,” Miller says. “At the moment we are still in the theory portion of our project, but we will be using Stata to run the regression when the time comes.”

Miller added the energy certificate to his portfolio because he wants to work on slowing climate change, no matter where his career takes him. “I see climate change as the biggest threat to the quality of life for all people,” he says.

At La Follette the faculty encourage a sense of community among the students, he says. “You’re guided by great faculty who encourage you to work together instead of compete with each other. Professors have more time for your questions and they make an effort to connect with and get to know you.”

Looking ahead to a career as a consultant or running for public office, Miller knows the quantitative skills he is gaining at La Follette will stand him in good stead. “Too many people believe that an argument they’ve made up is enough justification for their opinion,” he says. “The quantitative courses at La Follette are important to me because they require you to not only have an argument, but also real evidence for having an opinion. I’ve used what I’ve learned in these courses to press unsupported opinions of my peers.”