Q: Where did you grow up? Any fun stories about your childhood, or moments that impacted who you are today?

Jaleesa Miller: I grew up in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I was raised in the 90s where cellphones were nonexistent for kids so many decisions were based on sound judgment in the moment. The cardinal rules were to never ride your bike too far away from home, stay together, and be home before the streetlights came on. My two best friends (who are still my friends to this day) and I had many adventures that we reminisce about regularly. We talk about all the times we could have gotten caught breaking one of the cardinal rules. Or how we met so many different people while on our adventures. The conversations always revolved around how much we are thankful to have had such a fun childhood. Those moments impact me to this day because in a lot of ways those lessons molded me into a responsible, caring, problem solver.

Q: What’s your favorite thing in Ann Arbor? Could be a restaurant, coffee shop, park, bus stop, etc.

Jaleesa: My favorite thing to do in Ann Arbor is visit Gallup Park on the weekends. I enjoy taking a long nature walk with my dog.

Q: Why the University of Michigan? What drew you here?

Jaleesa: Honestly, I never considered working for U of M. Being from this area, I knew of many people who worked for the hospital but never for the University, and it was not a desire of mine to join those groups. What drew me here was my introduction to the world of education by way of coaching high school cheer for six seasons. I cultivated amazing relationships with hundreds of young women. Soon, the conversations started to become less about cheer, and more about life. They wanted to know my story and what challenges I endured. I was able to provide them with guidance, mentorships, and lessons for life.The experiences and relationships I created were awesome but something still didn’t feel like a complete fit. I knew working with younger generations felt right, so I pursued career opportunities in higher education.

Q: Where did you study? How did your degree help you to get to DAAS?

Jaleesa: I studied at Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta Georgia. My degree is in Public Relations Management with a minor in History. I feel my PR degree enhanced my ability to problem solve, engage with all people, and I find it even easier to speak with large groups of people. But, my History minor taught me how to go more in-depth with my creativity and express my opinion using sound judgment. Both have helped me within numerous career journeys; and I am grateful to have gained the skills. Each day's a learning experience!

Q: What sorts of things do you do within DAAS?

Jaleesa: Within DAAS I primarily help to provide forward-facing customer service to staff, students, and faculty. The part of my position I truly enjoy is helping students create their class schedules and brainstorm about “what they want to be when they grow up.” I ask this question to all students that schedule advisement appointments. It seems like such a simple question, but once you get to college, the plan is to create the trajectory that will get you to that goal. I also handle curriculum management and evaluate courses for each semester as well as cultivating connections with other schools within U of M to create academic partnerships for the semester, and at times for years to come.

Q: How would you describe your first day of work?

Jaleesa: My first day was interesting to say the least! I was very eager to start so when I signed my contract (on my birthday) I started the following week. Unfortunately, there wasn't much turn-around time for the University so all my attempts to get online were a fail. But, with this free time, I was able to meet a few members from my team and people from other departments. It was the summer time so the campus was slow and peaceful. I spent the majority of the day walking around campus and embracing how grateful I was to be in this new environment.

Q: What have you enjoyed about the department so far?

Jaleesa: My amazing team has made me feel so included, and I enjoy the feeling of community and support from everyone. It feels like we are one big family that provides each other with love, care and compassion. DAAS gives you the feeling of belonging which in the workplace goes a long way, especially when you are just starting out.

Q: Do you have any goals for your work at DAAS? What do you hope to accomplish while you’re here?

Jaleesa: My goal is to become as knowledgeable within my position as possible, so that I can continue to support my team. My optimism is at an all time high so accomplishments have not formed yet, every experience I have had from the beginning have been amazing. I desire to keep moving forward and let the opportunities come to me!