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Tech Center Alum Lauded For Academic Excellence

July 14, 2022

Maddi Miller graduates magna cum laude from Chico State, May 2022

Student success is what drives our work here at the California Community Colleges Technology Center. In each issue of Tech Central, we aim to celebrate the achievements of California’s community colleges, students, and colleagues — as well as members of the extended Tech Center family.

With that in mind, let’s have a big round of applause for Maddi Miller, a former Tech Center staffer who in May graduated magna cum laude from Chico State University with a Bachelor of Arts in communication studies.

Folks at the Tech Center may remember Maddi as a Butte College student assistant supporting the business operations team a few years back. She is also the daughter of Rebecca Miller, Tech Center Public Relations and Marketing project manager.

As a student at Butte, Maddi earned two degrees — an Associate Degree for Transfer in communication studies, and an Associate of Arts in social and behavioral science — before going on to Chico State.

“The common theme I saw between communication and behavioral science is social behaviors,” she said. “It definitely appears in how we talk to each other, such as our tone and the language we use based on who we’re with.”

Starting out at Butte, Maddi had no real career plan or any idea what to major in. “There were so many paths I could take. But after taking a class in communication studies with an awesome professor I became totally immersed in the subject and how it applies to life,” she said.

The class was Interpersonal Communication, taught by Laura Rapozo-Davis. “She was amazing,” Maddi said. “I went back to take two more classes with her.”

As it happens, the theme of interpersonal communication became crucial to Maddi’s academic success as tragic world events interrupted routine life. Between the devastating Camp Fire that closed Butte College in fall of 2018, and the pandemic that shut down college campuses for much of 2020 and 2021, Maddi was forced to suddenly adapt to remote learning — and actually spent very little time on either campus.

“I definitely did not have an ordinary college experience,” she said. “I transferred to Chico State in 2020 and was immediately sent online due to Covid.”

Even so, she says there were many resources available to students that made it possible for her to persist and succeed, including one-on-one office hours with professors, and a lot of social interactions with classmates on Zoom.

“It was like we were isolated in our homes but brought together by our screens and use of emojis,” she said. “There was this understanding that we’re all in this together.”

Currently, Maddi is an intern at MoreCommerce, an e-commerce software developer with an office in Chico. Down the road, Maddi is thinking about returning to Chico State for a masters degree in communication studies, and possibly becoming a speech instructor.

“I want to help everyone see communication as more than just talking — to see it as storytelling, something impactful.”

“I don’t want to sound like a cliche but my college experience goes to show that anything is possible,” she added. “I would recommend to anyone, take advantage of the resources available to students because they are abundant in the California Community Colleges system.”