University of Pittsburgh
March 7, 2004

Jessica L. Miley Named Pitt's 2004 Omicron Delta Kappa Senior of the Year

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—Jessica L. Miley, a University of Pittsburgh senior majoring in psychology with a minor in sociology, recently received recognition as the 2004 Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK) Senior of the Year at Pitt's annual Honors Convocation in Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland.

ODK, founded in 1914 at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., is an honorary society that recognizes students who maintain a high standard of leadership in collegiate activities. The award is given to students who possess and exhibit outstanding leadership qualities in service to the University.

Miley's Pitt affiliations include membership in the Pitt Pathfinders, Blue and Gold Society, Student Government Board, Pitt Program Council, Omicron Delta Kappa, and Psi Chi, as well as serving as a resident assistant. She also has participated annually in alternative spring break programs.

An Erie native, Miley has helped those affected by and infected with AIDS and has worked to promote AIDS prevention through education. During the summer of 2003, Miley traveled to Africa as a research assistant. While working in the primary schools in Tanzania, she learned that the children, most of whose lives have been touched in some manner by AIDS, were not equipped to deal with the disease. The experience inspired Miley to write the children's educational book titled Yuliana (a joint project of the University and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania Kagera Zone AIDS Control Project), which teaches children how to care for someone with AIDS. She also worked with the AIDS Control Office in establishing the AIDS Orphan Fund, which provides orphans living in the Karagwe District with clothing, books, and an education.

A founding member of the Ophelia Project, an organization that promotes positive lifestyles for girls, Miley was recognized as the Pennsylvania Volunteer of the Year in 1999.

Miley plans to enter Pitt's Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. Her long-term goal is to become a CEO of a nonprofit agency.

Miley's name, along with the names of previous ODK winners, is engraved in the stone sidewalk between the Cathedral of Learning and Heinz Chapel in Oakland. The walk is the only one of its kind in the country.