A non-traditional student, Jamison Miller started with a rewarding career in archaeological and museum photography, after which he studied urban geography at Northeastern Illinois University (BA, Honors, 2008) in Chicago. There he was introduced to critical theories of race and class, and in his undergrad thesis constructed a historical cartography of Chicago's black populations and public housing stock utilizing Geographic Information Systems (GIS). He went on to study cultural geography in Vancouver at Simon Fraser University (MA, 2011). There he returned to his interests in art, photography, and museums and analyzed how the Vancouver Art Gallery leverages the powerful socio-spatial presence of art in a campaign to relocate and build a new museum.
Jamison moved to Williamsburg in 2011 and started teaching cultural geography at John Tyler Community College as an adjunct instructor.
Looking for opportunities to further support a career in community college administration and research, he looked to the School of Education at William and Mary. After meeting with the faculty in the Higher Education program and reviewing the content of the Ph.D. program, Jamison was sure he had found a good fit.
"I chose the higher education program at William and Mary because of the faculty's support and enthusiasm for diverse topics and approaches to research. It was clear to me that the faculty considered my background in geography and Geographic Information Systems an asset, and they encouraged me to develop my own research agenda."
Upon receiving his acceptance letter from William and Mary, Jamison had to more closely examine the financial and practical implications of taking on a rigorous Ph.D. program. With a three-year-old son and a 7-month pregnant wife, he knew the first year of his program would be a challenging struggle with work/life balance. Exploring the child-care options in Williamsburg revealed steep financial challenges.
Shortly after receiving his acceptance letter, Jamison heard again from his potential advisor: he had been nominated for an entrance scholarship, the Barton Malow Fellowship. Going back to the books, he realized that this scholarship would make it possible to enter the program and provide care for his children while he attended to his coursework, performed his graduate assistantship hours, and embarked on his own research in the first year of his program. The great news came quickly, Jamison's nomination was successful. He began his Ph.D. program in fall 2013, with research interests in community colleges, critical university studies, and digital cultures.