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4400 Mile Leap of Faith Leads to Valedictorian Honor for Karla Miletic Phys’20

By Zachary Durham

Published on May 29, 2020

Karla Miletic4400 miles.

That is the distance between University of the Sciences’ campus and Zadar, Croatia, the hometown of Karla Miletic PHYS’20.

Days before the start of the Fall 2016 semester, Miletic made the journey for the first time, and four years later, when she graduated as valedictorian for the Class of 2020, she was back at home in Zadar, where she had been finishing her semester with virtual coursework due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Just being considered for this award is so humbling since USciences prides itself on being a top-notch academic institution,” said Miletic. “Being named Valedictorian is especially exciting for me because it is one of the best ways I could have expressed my deep gratitude for all the sacrifices my family has made in order for me to attend USciences.”

When choosing a college, Miletic knew that she wanted a challenging academic environment where she could study chemistry and physics, in a big city, and a place where she could play tennis. While Miletic’s academic achievements are remarkable, her accomplishments on the tennis court are nearly as impressive as her accomplishments off it.

Miletic on the Tennis CourtMiletic graduates as USciences’ all-time leader in both singles (50) and doubles (46) wins. Just months after arriving in Philadelphia, she was voted both the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) Rookie and Player of the Year.  She repeated as CACC Player of the Year as a sophomore, and was named All-CACC First Team in all four of her years. Miletic has received numerous combined athletic and academic accolades, most notably becoming USciences’ first-ever two-time Academic All-America selection.

She is also a two-time Philadelphia Inquirer Academic All-Area Women’s Tennis Performer of the Year, as voted on by the sports information offices of 30 area institutions from the Philadelphia metropolitan area, as well as a two-time CACC Top XVI Award winner, presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative GPA participating at the finals site for each of the CACC championships. Miletic added the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Arthur Ashe Leadership & Sportsmanship award to her resume.

“I am most grateful for my time at USciences because of the many lessons I picked up along the way: in the classroom, in the lab, on the court, but most importantly in life,” said Miletic. “Four years ago, if someone had told me how hard it would get at times, I would not have believed them; but if someone had told me how much I would grow and evolve as a student, researcher, athlete and individual, I would have not believed that either.”

Four years ago, if someone had told me how hard it would get at times, I would not have believed them; but if someone had told me how much I would grow and evolve as a student, researcher, athlete and individual, I would have not believed that either

-- Karla Miletic

Miletic is planning on using her mathematical, statistical and programming background shaped at USciences to enter the world of data science and quantitative finance after graduation, but she wants to keep other options open as well before deciding on a specific field because of the diversity of skills she has developed.

“USciences offers a wide variety of classes to take, labs to work in, and fields to study,” she said. “This allowed me to be flexible with the things I wanted to learn and adjust my experiences according to my changing interests and plans for the future. In my case, this meant being able to study and develop lab skills in organic chemistry and biochemistry, while later learning how to program in courses such as Computer Science and Machine Learning, both of which will be very valuable to my future career plans.”

No matter where Miletic may go, whether it be the near 4400 miles currently separating her from campus or even further, her time at USciences will go with her.

“The connections and friendships I made while being a student here will undoubtedly keep on brightening up my life for a long time to come,” Miletic said.

Categories: News, Student, Alumni, Athletics, Misher College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Mathematics, Physics and Statistics, Physics, Awards and Honors