An educational smorgasboard

Amanda Miller, UIndy sociology professor and self-proclaimed foodie, applies her passions to her research and classes as well, serving up hot and fresh knowledge to her hungry students. Miller’s research on food, family, gender, and social class has gained national attention. Buzzfeed, the New York Times, Bloomberg Business Report, and the Wall Street Journal all have featured her work.

“I believe people are interested in my work because the challenges my participants describe are universal,” she says. “Many couples struggle to divide up household chores fairly, and people enjoy knowing that they are not alone in trying to a find balance between work and family.”

Miller carries her enthusiasm for food with her to the classroom—and students eat it up. “Food, Society, and You,” a first-year seminar taught by Miller, examines social factors affecting what and how people eat.

“Students learn about the ways that the drive for corporate profit affects the food we eat, including what we call the ‘high costs’ of cheap food,” she explains.

Students visit an international grocery, keep a food journal to help understand how their place in the social world affects their eating habits, and volunteer at a food pantry.

“I love building relationships with my students,” Miller says. “We have such great discussions in class, and I often feel that I learn just as much as my students do.”

She often facilitates internships for students at such local agencies as IU Health’s Garden on the Go and supervises student research assistants.

“Students not only assist me with my research but also are active in collecting, analyzing, and presenting their own findings,” she says. “My advice is to consider how the things you enjoy in your everyday life can spark your intellectual curiosity,” she says. “For me that’s food and family. Find the things you love and look for ways to improve them,” she says. “Internships or research on everyday topics can have meaningful outcomes for society as a whole.”