By the spring of her senior year of high school, Mallory Miller’s plans for her undergraduate education were set. A lifelong western Kentuckian, Mallory planned to stay in-state and focus on civil engineering. She had applied, been accepted and was anticipating moving an August move to what would be home for the next four or five years—the University of Louisville.
So when UK College of Engineering recruiter Ron Robinson showed up one spring day to talk about UK’s mining engineering program, Mallory wasn’t initially interested; however, the longer Ron talked, the more intrigued she became.
“Ron Robinson is a very convincing guy!” Mallory concedes. “He told me about the different scholarships available to mining students and demonstrated how mining engineering is closely related to civil engineering. He made a compelling case.”
With months to go before the start of her freshman year, Mallory made the switch. She enrolled at UK and immersed herself in the world of mining.
“When I began studying mining, I realized how little I knew about it,” Mallory remembers. “I had a lot to learn about the intricate processes involved in extracting minerals from the earth. We say it a lot, but it’s true—what isn’t grown must be mined.”
For Mallory, learning the mining trade involved four internships—three near her home in Madisonville, Ky., and one in Texas. After a few stints with Alliance Coal’s Hopkins County Coal operation, Mallory decided to build a career around coal mining. To further her knowledge, Mallory decided to enter the BS/MBA program, which lets students graduate with an undergraduate degree in mining and a master’s in business administration.
“My hope is to one day become a chief engineer and general manager of a mining operation. During my internship, I realized how much the chief engineer is involved in the business side of the operation. With just one extra year, I was able to complete my dual degree and become better prepared for what I want to do in my career,” explains Mallory.
Prior to graduating in December, Mallory took a full time position with Alliance Coal—this time working at their operations headquarters in Lexington. She eventually hopes to move back to western Kentucky and become chief engineer, perhaps at the same place where she had interned.
“From Dr. G.T. Lineberry, who challenged me and expected me to put forth my very best, to my involvement with the Society of Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME), which allowed me to travel to Salt Lake City, Denver, Phoenix and Las Vegas, I am grateful for my time in the mining engineering program at UK,” Mallory says enthusiastically. “I definitely made the right choice.”