Joe Miller: Making an Islander Impact Through Community Outreach

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Not many people are as passionate and fulfilled by their work as Joe Miller, who has been with Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi since 2004 and is now the director of Community Outreach. It was his passion for community outreach that led him to receive Corpus Christi Independent School District’s Role Model and Volunteerism Award on March 29 during the iAchieve Business Partnership Awards luncheon.

Miller was recognized for the work he does with STEM students at Moody High School. Miller, and other Islanders who graciously give up their time to volunteer, often assist during Moody’s annual Girls in Engineering Math & Science conference and the Men4STEM conference.

“Our staff and students have a huge amount of respect and admiration for Mr. Miller,” said Jessica Castro, a senior from Moody. “As a result of his constant and close interaction with our students, they have confidence in themselves and know they will be successful leaders.”

While Miller also serves on Moody’s Innovation Academy Advisory Board, he says his favorite way to volunteer is by teaching STEM students at Moody how to explore the natural environment of the Coastal Bend through kayaking. 

“I am honored and very humbled to receive this prestigious award, especially since I know there are many other people at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi that are also serving the community. I am also grateful to have the opportunity to work with so many CCISD students,” Miller said. “It’s very gratifying to have the opportunity to take these students, many of whom have never been to the beach or in the water, out to see what makes the Coastal Bend so unique – the environment.”  

Miller not only impacts the lives of young STEM students at Moody through his outreach efforts, but he has also made an impact on the Coastal Bend’s youth that goes far beyond the shores of Ward Island. Every year for the past 15 years, Miller takes A&M-Corpus Christi students and other “recruits” from the campus community to volunteer to help children with Down Syndrome learn to paddle a kayak during Audrey’s Day at the Beach. Miller is also involved in the development and oversight of many other the Island University youth programs, such as summer camps. Other Community Outreach programs include Career and Professional Education, Event Services, a variety of other programs and the ongoing Pollution Prevention Partnership.

And the list goes on.

“Joe is someone who loves his work and puts his heart into everything he does,” said Dr. Ahmed Mahdy, interim vice president for Research, Commercialization and Outreach. “He strongly believes in the mission of the University and represents us to the community very well. He is a great asset to RCO and A&M-CC. People like Joe are great examples of what it means to make an Islander Impact.”

Miller’s newest project is the Broader Impacts Initiative, which is designed to create a campus culture where Islanders impact the Coastal Bend community through research, teaching, service and beyond. One way Miller helps Texas A&M-Corpus Christi faculty and staff leave a lasting legacy is by funding their community outreach projects with an Impact Multiplier Grant. The new grant, which is a part of the Broader Impacts program, will now be available each fall and spring semester.

“One of my favorite things about my job is that every day is different. One day I could be in the office going to meetings with my team and the next I could be on the water teaching kayaking lessons,” Miller said. “Because I find my work to be so gratifying, I would encourage all Islanders to get involved in the community. Everybody has something to offer and something they can do make an Islander Impact.”