Carmen Laura Miller


Redwood City, CA

Academic Interests

Biology & Computer Science

Fun Fact

I am trilingual and have multiple citizenships

I’ve always been curious about the world around me. I remember long hours gently unfurling the pages of my flower press to carefully inspect each detail of the plants stored within. It was only after a fetal pig dissection in 8th grade, however, that I realized my love for biology. As a visual learner, visibly mapping out every major organ and physically tracing the path of each body system I’d been learning about was enthralling. Since then, I’ve explored just about every variation of biomedical science: pharmacology, cell and molecular biology, genetics, and neuroscience, to name a few. I’m still learning more about my interests. Working in Dr. Samira Musah’s lab at Duke using stem cell and tissue engineering to investigate diabetic kidney disease and my experience in Dr. Christine Denny’s Lab through the Amgen Scholars Program at Columbia using mouse models to investigate drug therapies to treat Alzheimer’s disease has allowed me to narrow my focus to molecular biology, but I still have so many questions.

I also love exploring a broad range of other subjects. I fell in love with a computer science class I took my sophomore year and am now pursuing a minor in the subject (much in line with the problem solving that makes me love biology). I’m a passionate artist, having danced ballet my whole life and painted as a hobby on the side. I love music and will sing along at the top of my lungs whenever I need a mood boost, as my roommates can tell you. I love learning new languages and can speak fluent Spanish and solid conversational French. To go along with this, I also love traveling and experiencing new cultures, and did study abroad in Aix-en-Provence, France the summer after my freshman year and am currently away in Sydney, Australia for my junior fall. I am an active member of the Duke PorColombia club and a firm believer that arepas are a Colombian invention (I don’t want to hear it, Venezuelans).

What do you like about being a SPIRE Fellow?

I like being a SPIRE fellow because it allows me to connect with a broad range of other STEM-inclined students and learn about other options and life paths I would have never otherwise considered. I think it can be very easy to be fed a narrative that there is one set track in STEM you have to follow, but each and every one of my fellow SPIRE fellows are so creative, passionate, and unique in the paths they choose to take. I am always very inspired by the conversations I have with them. The SPIRE program also offers amazing support and mentorship and makes me feel very welcomed and cared for as an individual. I’ve loved being a part of the SPIRE community and have made some of my closest friends through it.

Carmen Laura Miller
Carmen Laura Miller