David Richman Millard
February 15, 2014
As a Foundation Fellow, David Millard, a senior majoring in mathematics and computer science, has traveled the world, volunteered with local schools and found UGA to be the ideal place to pursue his passion for learning.
B.S. in mathematics and B.S. in computer science
University highlights, achievements and awards:
I’ve had an extremely fulfilling experience at UGA. As an Honors student and Foundation Fellow, I’ve been given the opportunity to study at the University of Oxford, conduct robotics research in Freiburg, Germany, stay with indigenous families in Costa Rica and visit South Africa twice. During my second stay in South Africa, I worked with schools in the Khayelitsha Township, outside of Cape Town, to repair and improve educational technology resources.
Since I was a freshman, I’ve been involved in UGA Mathcounts Outreach. Mathcounts is a national organization that hosts tournaments for middle school students, and our organization sends collegiate coaches to middle schools in the Athens area to help them prepare for tournaments. We also host our own tournament every spring that brings about 150 middle school students together to compete and to have fun. UGA Mathcounts Outreach has expanded into working with students who need remedial help and inspiring them to become interested in math. I’ve served on the executive board for the past three years, and as president for the past two. I’ve worked with students in sixth and seventh grades that I now see competing in high school mathematics and robotics competitions, and I’m very proud to have been a part of their love of mathematics.
In the computer science department, I also had the opportunity to work with professor Prashant Doshi. I engineered a framework to control quadrotor drones, and a simulator for the same (with fewer crashes!). I also worked with professor Daniel Promislow in the genetics department, building a platform for computational population simulation.
Family Ties to UGA:
My father, Larry Millard, retired last year from UGA after a long career as a sculpture professor. He and my mother have since enrolled at UGA as graduate students in historic preservation, so while I may have been the first in my family to attend UGA as a student, it seems that we’re all here now.
I chose to attend UGA because...
… I was blown away by the students that I met here. While I was interviewing for the Foundation Fellowship, I met student after student that left me in awe of their drive, creativity and well-roundedness. UGA seemed like it provided the most opportunity for me to achieve my goals, and I’ve found that to be true again and again. I turned down acceptances at Princeton and Yale to come here, and I’m very glad that I did.
My favorite things to do on campus are...
… walk around talking with friends, use the facilities at the Ramsey Student Center and run on the trails around Lake Herrick. To be honest, one of my favorite things is to go to class and to talk with professors outside of class. I can’t count how many times I’ve had a professor recommend a great book or introduce me to a new idea when I’ve dropped into his or her office to say hello.
When I have free time, I like...
… to eat with friends at Thai Spoon and swap brain teasers, to play board games, to exercise and to read.
The craziest thing I've done is...
… spend the night on the streets of London with Joe Gerber and Jeremiah Stevens. We had just seen Les Misérables and were planning on staying the night inside Euston Station before taking a 6 a.m. train to Inverness, Scotland. Euston Station closed and kicked us out at 1 a.m., and we couldn’t find an open (and cheap) hotel, so we played 20 questions for four hours trying to stay awake under a Delta Airlines blanket.
My favorite place to study is...
… my room. I enjoy studying in the science library, in the math major lounge and in the Foundation Fellows library in Moore College, but there’s something unbeatable about studying in your own space.
My favorite professor is...
… impossible to pin down. Ted Shifrin, in the math department, has been a driving force for me to pursue potential I never knew that I had. In genetics, Daniel Promislow introduced me to the process of scientific research and has been an invaluable mentor in my time at UGA. In the computer science department, Prashant Doshi and Don Potter have helped me develop my research interests and enabled me to work toward them. David Williams and the entire staff of the UGA Honors Program have given me an astounding amount of support throughout my career at UGA.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with...
… Douglas Hofstadter. He’s my favorite author and cognitive science researcher, and his concept of the mind is unique and has deeply challenged and expanded my view of the world. His curiosity is eagerly conveyed in the pages of his books, and I would love a chance to sit down with him in person.
If I knew I could not fail, I would...
… research, research, research. There are so many fascinating questions in so many fields that have so many implications for humanity. I couldn’t imagine doing anything but trying to solve them.
The one UGA experience I will always remember will be...
… meeting so many fascinating people. It’s not a single experience, but I’ve come to be friends with so many interesting, motivated students and professors and I don’t think I’ll ever forget them.