5 Things: Ethan Miller

Heidelberg University is a community, a family, comprised of as many personalities as there are people. With our “5 Things to Know” blog, you’ll get to know some of them. You’ll learn about their Heidelberg experience and other informative, fun – even quirky – anecdotes. Together, they tell the Heidelberg story.


Ethan Miller entered Heidelberg as a chemistry major because that’s what his family told him he was best at. Nothing against the sciences, but by the end of his freshman year, he realized that his passion was in the arts and humanities. “I really latched onto English. That’s what makes me tick,” says Ethan, now a senior preparing for grad school. “English was one of the things that helped me find me and my identity.” So he switched his major to English writing and added theatre and psychology minors. Passion rules!

The aura of Heidelberg

Like many students, Heidelberg wasn’t initially on Ethan’s radar. His close high school friend, Hanah Ralston, ’18, convinced him to tag along on a campus visit. Heck, it got him out of school for a day! But he was sold when he stepped out of the car that day. “I don’t know if it was the atmosphere or the aura, but I truly did feel welcomed here,” he says. Coming from the small town of Rittman, Ethan’s graduating class had 59 students, so Heidelberg seemed big. “But not too big,” he says. In fact, it was just the perfect balance. “I have no regrets at all. I have interests everywhere on campus and in my life. And I discovered my true passion here.”

A nod to Shakespeare (and Dr. Isaacson)

Ethan’s advisor, Dr. Emily Isaacson, has been a strong influence and support in his academic journey. It was a Shakespeare class that she taught – which combined his interests in theatre and English – that led to a greater self-discovery and career direction. “Not only did that give us challenging text to read, but I found myself in the text,” he said. It was enlightening to learn the ways we understand Shakespeare’s writing and its applications in modern-day text, he says.

Journalism to clinical counseling

Because he loves to write and has a knack for it, Ethan initially was looking at a career in journalism. To pursue that, he’s been involved with The Kilikilik, serving as editor-in-chief this year. But at an LGBTQ+ conference he attended last year, he connected with some people in Heidelberg’s graduate counseling program, and that experience changed his path. “I went to Dr. Isaacson and told her I was thinking about clinical counseling, and she said, ‘Ethan, that makes perfect sense for you.’” He’s exploring graduate programs in counseling with a goal of working with clients struggling with their sexuality or sexual identity as well as those suffering from addiction. “I just love helping people,” he says.

Busy, busy, busy

Ethan is the epitome of an engaged student at Heidelberg. He’s a member of Rho Eta Delta and Delt and the Kappa corollaries, three academic honoraries and he serves as an RA in Talmage Hall. Watching his two favorite student organizations -- The Kil and Berg Allies – blossom under his leadership the past couple of years has been especially rewarding. But he’s even more passionate about his experience on stage and behind the scenes for Heidelberg Theatre. “I cherish those experiences … there are so many art forms all combined into one,” he says. “Theatre gave me the ability to express myself through art in so many different aspects.” He’s been involved in eight productions; this semester’s “Lysistrata” and “Oedipus” will be his theatre farewell.

Homecoming royalty

There’s a badge on Ethan’s backpack – a photo of him with one of his best friends, Maddy Crawford – that’ll be there for a long time. It represents a precious memory when Ethan and Maddy were crowned Homecoming king and queen last weekend. Convinced they weren’t going to win, the two shared a moment prior to the announcement, where Ethan gave Maddy a hug and told her, “We’re king and queen in our hearts.” The king was announced first, and Ethan was “in shock.” Then, his thoughts turned to his friend. “I was thinking, ‘Maddy has to win.’” And then she did. “I think I was more excited for her,” Ethan says. Must have been Ethan’s lip sync performance of Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl” while dressed in a banana costume that sealed the deal!

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