Google Helped Commencement Speaker Choose Tarleton

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STEPHENVILLE — It was straight-up good fortune that led Lexie Miller to Tarleton State University.

Googling colleges in Texas, high school-age Lexie remembered a sweatshirt she had borrowed emblazoned with Tarleton’s logo. It was the only time she’d even heard of the school.

She clicked to learn more.

“It was a very random selection,” she said. “It was not really a whim, but I wanted to get away from the small town I was in. The campus looked cool so I came and took a tour. When I was on campus, I felt like this is where I needed to be.”

Lexie graduates Friday with a bachelor’s degree in digital media studies. She’ll make the commencement address in the 4:30 p.m. exercises.

She came to Tarleton’s Stephenville campus after growing up among the pines in Holly Lake Ranch, near Gilmer in East Texas. It was at Tarleton she discovered her major interests — ministry to college students and digital media.

When she arrived, she thought she’d pursue a career in education, like several members of her family. She admits it, her plan lacked conviction.

“I came in without any idea of what I wanted to study, which way I wanted to go with my life. My dad suggested I major in education because he felt like I’d be a good coach. All that side of my family majored in education, so that’s what I did for a while.”

Then she discovered education was not the right direction. “I started to change to journalism and broadcasting, but within a couple of weeks I realized that wasn’t where I needed to be, either.”

She did more digging. She always loved graphic design, photography, videography, so she selected digital media. “I knew that was something I really had a passion for.”

And that was the answer.

Her major features a range of skills taught, with a choice of emphasis — game design or media production. The latter won out.

“With that, I can go into anything from animation to graphic design to producing videos to directing, with some photography and videography aspects as well,” she said. It must have been the proper choice. She was named her class’ outstanding graduate in the Fine Arts Department.

While she was discovering her educational direction, she became active with Tarleton’s Baptist Student Ministry and learned that spiritual service also will be vital in her life. She’s still looking for big-time employment, but she knows what she wants to do.

“I’ll keep my job at a Dublin coffee shop and keep praying through what is my next step. My life has been shaped and changed working with the Baptist Student Ministry. Whatever I do, I want to incorporate that into my career.”

Her commencement address will feature a theme of pressing forward.

“It’s very personal,” she said. “You can expect to hear a few witty comments, but overall, the thought of continuing to push through. I’ll talk about the things we went through as a class.

“The last year was extremely hard. It was such a rare year, but something we should hold onto.”

Friday closes a circle that began with a web search and finished with a degree.

“I saw Tarleton as an escape route,” Lexie said. “God saw it as the place where he could change my life.”

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