Robyn Miller, Soaring with Eagles

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Kennesaw, Georgia native, Robyn Miller, embodies all that an Auburn woman should be. Especially that part about believing in work, hard work.

Earning her undergraduate degree at the University of Georgia and her master’s degree at Clemson University, Miller is a relatively new member of the Auburn family. She is currently a doctoral candidate, an English teacher here at the university, and an avid volunteer at the Southeastern Raptor Center.

She now proudly bleeds orange and blue and says “Auburn has definitely become my home.”

One of the most intriguing aspects of that educational cocktail is the volunteer work she does now with the Southeastern Raptor Center and their partnership in designing artwork for the game day eagle’s lure and jesses. The lure is a leather disc that the eagles are trained to land on after their traditional pre-game stadium flight. “They know if they touch that, it’s a magical food dispenser”, she said. “Raptors as a whole are highly food-motivated.” The jesses are leather strips attached to cuffs on the eagle’s ankles. While perched on the handler, they hold the jesses to keep control of the bird.

Miller has created artwork for three sets of lures and jesses this year. Her inspiration for the art is simply the eagles themselves. “Whenever I handle Spirit or Nova, I can’t help but be amazed at how beautiful they are”, she said. “My designs focus on depicting them in ways that capture that fearless Auburn spirit I see in them.” From preparing the leather and painting it, the whole process takes 12 hours at least. While working on her most recent project, she watched an entire season of the Netflix series, Stranger Things.

Each game day lure, cuff and jess set is used only once for that specific game. The sets go up for auction on Thursday’s before a home game and close the following Monday. Proceeds go to the Southeastern Raptor Center and their efforts.

The price tends to be higher when Auburn wins that particular game, but the average set sells for around $500. However, the bidding for last season’s Vanderbilt game set designed by Miller started at $1,500 before kickoff. “I was in complete shock over it”, she said. “I’m still in shock over it.” She can’t reveal too much, but one of her favorite sets this year is for the Iron Bowl. “I think it’s going to amaze some people,” she said.

Looking to get involved with the Southeastern Raptor Center? Every Friday from 4-5 p.m. before a home game they host Football, Fans and Feathers. It is a flighted show put on in the amphitheater on site. Guests can look forward to seeing hawks, eagles, owls and falcons fly during the event. Admission is $5. Monetary donations are always appreciated, and there is also a need for towels and sheets that to be used for padding in the rehabilitation mews.

From the classroom to Jordan-Hare Stadium, Miller has seen many different aspects of Auburn. “The Auburn Family has come to mean inclusion, to me” said Miller. With different students in and out of the classroom, “No two semesters are the same. No two conversations I have with strangers within Auburn University are the same.” Said Miller “The most beautiful part of Auburn is getting to have these diverse experiences, and seeing all these people unified by a passion for the school.” War Eagle to that!

For more information about the Southeastern Raptor Center you can visit www.auburn.esu/raptor