Director of Purchasing and Administration, Aldi
AA, General Studies, Missouri State-West Plains
BS, Engineering Management, Missouri S&T-Rolla
Hometown: Salem, Missouri
“Seriously consider West Plains as you start your plunge into being an adult …”
D’ette Miller, originally of Salem, lists several key factors in her decision to attend Missouri State University-West Plains. The campus’ close proximity to home, the smaller class sizes and the abundance of financial aid opportunities such as the A+ program served as great incentives for her to choose to begin her academic career here instead of at a larger four-year institution.
Word of mouth also played a key role. Several students she knew who were a year or two ahead of her and attending Missouri State-West Plains said many great things about the campus and touted their academic and social experiences at the university.
When Miller herself became a student, her goal was simple – get her Associate of Arts in General Studies.
“As an incoming freshman, I think it’s fair to say that everyone is unaware of who they are and who they will become,” Miller said. “Having the experiences I did at Missouri State-West Plains helped me begin to really grow into the person I am today: more confident, more comfortable with myself and who I am, and more open to seeing things from a different perspective.”
Among these experiences was her time spent as a math tutor, which helped her develop her own self-confidence. She also served as a Student Ambassador, which pushed her to be more extroverted and initiate conversations with others. She was a Resident Assistant at the Grizzly House during her final year at Missouri State-West Plains, which gave her plenty of practice in conflict resolution, and she also was a member of the Grizzly Cheer Team, which gave her the opportunity to develop relationships and be part of a team that had to communicate on many different levels.
“When I left West Plains, I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, but it provided a very solid stepping stone to where I am today,” she said.
Miller’s path led her to the Missouri University of Science and Technology, where she majored in engineering management. “Engineering management boils down to being able to deal with people and solve problems,” she said. “Currently, any decision I make can potentially impact millions of people. These are not life or death situations by any means, but I take the potential loss or gain very seriously.
Miller is now director of purchasing for Aldi in Batavia, Illinois, where she lives with her husband, Keenan, and sons Titus, age five, and Micah, age two, with baby number three on the way.
“I started as a part-time cashier and worked my way to being a director,” Miller said. “God has truly blessed my career path.”
Miller looks back fondly on her time at Missouri State-West Plains, and said some of her favorite memories of college in general were made here.
“The people are so warm and friendly, the community is inviting and the quality of education is fantastic,” Miller said. “The experiences and takeaways I had have made me a huge advocate for getting your general education credits at a community college or junior college because the stress of the ‘University’ just isn’t there!”
To prospective students, she says, “seriously consider West Plains as you start your plunge into being an adult. At no point did I ever regret enrolling, and I have not looked back and wished I had done something different.”