National Award For KWU Prof and Student

For one Kansas Wesleyan University student, last week was a whirlwind of national recognition in both athletics and academics.

Gabbie Miller, a senior majoring in business management, took a walk into the national spotlight last Thursday as a member of the KWU Women’s Basketball team that earned an invitation to play in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics tournament’s first round playoff game in Sioux City, Iowa.

That unique student athletic career highlight actually presented a problem. There was a national academic accolade waiting in the wings.

Enter Gabbie’s parents, who stepped into action to make a very tight schedule happen.

Miller, working with Dr. Trish Petak, assistant professor and chair of the Department of Business and Accounting, had to catch a flight Friday out of Wichita bound for Las Vegas because she needed to present and accept a national award for an academic paper she and Petak authored.

Enter mom and dad: Gabbie’s parents, Chris and Amy Miller of Kiefer, Okla., who went to watch their daughter play in the national tournament in Iowa.

After the game, instead of waiting another day for the team bus, the three Millers loaded up the car and scooted back to Salina to meet up with Petak, who then headed to Wichita to make a flight to Vegas in time for a Saturday presentation of both the paper and Sunday’s award acceptance.

Had Miller rode back with the team, she would not have made the flight.

The pair were invited to the 26th annual American Society of Business and Behavioral Science conference. Their paper, “Increasing Employee Motivation and Organizational Productivity by Implementing Flex-Time,” was awarded Best Paper of a Track.

“We spent a lot of our Christmas break working on that paper,” Petak said. “After our paper was approved to present, we were ecstatic.”

The next notification, she said, was a bit of a stunner. “When we received notification that our paper won Best of Track, it felt surreal” Petak said. “What an incredible opportunity this was for Gabbie. We’re thankful and blessed for the ‘Power of AND’ that KWU provides to the Coyote family.”

Miller was no less thrilled than her professor, who was referring to the KWU Power of AND mantra that espouses the philosophy of a total student experience, from academics, to athletics to community involvement.

“It was an amazing experience to work with Dr. Petak,” Miller said. “I learned a lot. I’m blessed and honored to be able to have this opportunity.”

For her part, Petak said Miller is a role model for an active student who takes education seriously. “Gabbie is bound for great things,” Petak said. “She is one to watch for the future.”

The American Society of Business and Behavioral Sciences (ASBBS) was founded in 1994 as an interdisciplinary professional organization.

The mission of ASBBS is to provide a forum for exchange of ideas among faculty members in Business and Behavioral science disciplines.


(from left) Dr. Trish Petak and Gabbie Miller (KWU Photo)