After winning KU’s Women of Distinction award, 2011 graduate Miranda Wagner begins new career path

Following years of work on University of Kansas’ student senate and being recognized with the Women of Distinction award, Wagner explores new interests at Cerner in information security

March 5, 2016

LEFT: 2011 graduate Miranda Wagner's senior yearbook photo. RIGHT: graduate Miranda Wagner hugs Big Jay at Kansas University.
LEFT: 2011 graduate Miranda Wagner’s senior yearbook photo. RIGHT: Last spring, graduate Miranda Wagner hugs Big Jay at Kansas University.

Throughout 2011 graduate Miranda Wagner’s life, two things have stayed consistent: her drive to succeed and passion for everything she does. They’re what helped her through StuCo in high school and what drove her to seek office in the student senate at the University of Kansas, they’re what won her the KU Woman of Distinction award and what landed her position at Cerner Corporation as a business analyst in information security.

But, while she currently spends her days at Cerner studying data and working with computers, this field is only a new adventure for Wagner. While she majored in economics at KU and has always loved math, computer science is a place she “never thought [her] degree would take [her].” Before graduation, in fact, she knew nothing about field, and, in high school, her life revolved not around data analysis, but activities like journalism and StuCo.

“The computer stuff has totally been post-grad, so that’s been kind of funny. But I loved yearbook, … even though I wasn’t really interested in going into journalism,” Wagner said. “[In journalism], you learn so many tangible skills that are useful in life, even just simple ones, like learning how to listen to people and knowing how to communicate effectively and work on a team, and when to lead and when to follow. I think that definitely prepared me for all the challenges that I had in college and beyond.”

In addition to being on the JAG yearbook staff, Wagner also spent three years on StuCo, including as student body vice president her senior year. StuCo sponsor Erica Crist remembers Wagner as a strong leader with a kind heart.

“She listened to other students and [she was] a people person. She knows how to talk to people. She could tell people what to do without being bossy,” Crist said. “She was very well-rounded, she was smart, she was funny and she has a lot of empathy of people.”

Later, upon graduating high school and becoming a student at KU, Wagner carried her high school StuCo experience with her and was elected to the student body senate, where she eventually became KU’s student body vice president her senior year. According to Wagner, participating in high school StuCo was the reason she decided to run for a position.

“Even though high school was a much smaller experience, being in that environment prepped me for [student senate],” Wagner said.

As KU student body vice president, Wagner dealt with a number of campus issues, like mental health and racial injustice. One of the biggest challenges she said she faced on student senate was responding to the non-indictment decision in the Ferguson, Missouri, shooting of Michael Brown that sparked student conversation about racial issues on campus. The senate’s handling of the situation, though, is something she said she’s proud of.

It was nice to be recognized for all the hard work I was doing. The stuff I did with student senate was very, very hard, and, a lot of times, it’s not very visible.”

— 2011 graduate Miranda Wagner

“Student senate was really pressured to respond to what was going on. I think, at times, we were slow to react, but the senate historically didn’t touch anything like that, they stayed out of social issues like that. So, it definitely changed the dynamic now,” Wagner said. “We did the right thing by responding and moving forward and trying to be more proactive. So, I think I was really proud of everyone involved and the ripple effects that have come from that.”

Her work on issues like these is what led to her nomination for the KU Women of Distinction award at the end of her senior year, which she won soon after. The award is given annually to recognize women who “distinguished [themselves] through outstanding achievement and contributions to KU and/or the community, serving as role [models], and challenging gender stereotypes,” according to the website for the Emily Taylor Center for Women and Gender Equity.

Wagner felt that the award “summarized several accomplishments” of hers into one award, and said she was grateful for the opportunity to be recognized on the same platform as the women she looks up to.

“It was nice to be recognized for all the hard work I was doing. The stuff I did with student senate was very, very hard, and, a lot of times, it’s not very visible. So, the Women of Distinction award and feeling like I did something right at KU and things went well [was nice],” Wagner said. “Every year, I would look at the list of the Woman of Distinction [recipients], and I would be like, ‘Oh my gosh, I know some of these women. They’re doing amazing things,’ … and it’s just crazy to think this is who I’m on par with.”

Crist, who keeps up with Wagner via Facebook, said Wagner’s success and recognition don’t surprise her at all.

“You could always tell she had big goals. She worked toward her goals and had high expectations of herself,” Crist said. “What I see from some of her work being on the KU student body is, like I said, she has a lot of empathy. She really works for equality. She really believes … that all people should have to opportunities that she’s had.”

Now, having graduated from KU and began her search for a career that will fit her best, Wagner continues to work toward big goals. Since she started working at Cerner in September about five months after graduating college she has worked on information security and developing threat intelligence programs that work to proactively secure money and personal information, especially in the world of healthcare. This is all new to Wagner, who had never worked in computer science before accepting the position, but she doesn’t mind to her, it’s just another challenge to face.

“I’m learning a lot. Obviously, my background isn’t in security or anything really relating to computer science or IT, so it’s been a pretty big learning curve, but that keeps it challenging and exciting,” Wagner said. “Cerner, as a company, is doing a lot of really important things for healthcare, so it’s just nice to feel like I’m contributing to that, in a way.”

(Visited 28 times, 1 visits today)

Mill Valley News • Copyright 2022 • FLEX WordPress Theme by SNOLog in

Comments (0)

Mill Valley News intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and must be approved by a moderator to ensure that they meet these standards. Mill Valley News does not allow anonymous comments, and Mill Valley News requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All Mill Valley News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *