Sometimes the main reason a student decides to attend Northeastern State University turns out not to be the reason they stay. And such is the case with Choctaw native Dakota Miller, a senior member of the RiverHawks cheer squad.
Out of high school Dakota went to Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Alva but after two years decided that it just wasn’t a good fit. She started looking elsewhere, including NSU.
“I just felt that Alva was a little too small a town for me and I wanted to go somewhere that had more to offer. When I visited Tahlequah, I just loved the atmosphere of the town and the people I met. One of the big reasons I transferred was the chance to do competitive cheer, but the pandemic has put a halt to that for now,” said Miller.
Although there’s been no competitive cheering, Dakota has been involved in football game day and, for the first time, cheering on the floor this year at the Event Center during basketball games.
“I like the overall environment of football game day. It’s really fun and is a good time. Everyone is there to support the team, and this is my first year to be able to cheer on the court at basketball games and it’s so much fun. It’s nice to see the energy of the crowd during a cheer in basketball when you’re in a smaller environment.”
Being part of the cheer squad also means more than just attending sporting events which Dakota likes.
“Cheer has also been a way to be part of the community. We did Trunk-or-Treat for the kids at Halloween and we do fundraisers as well as cheer champs for the little kids. We also get a lot of support from fellow students because they recognize us and we sometimes help with their fundraisers.”
Turning to academics, Miller has found things much to her liking at NSU.
“The faculty has been really good about being flexible if you get sick or exposed and they understand your situation. They’ve also been great whenever I’ve needed help. I really enjoy the smaller classes because it gives you a chance to get to know the teachers and classmates better and brings a sense of togetherness to the college that you might not get at a larger school.”
In her free time, Dakota likes to hang out with friends or read. She is studying business administration with a concentration in general business.