If you need your computer fixed, MCC student Montana Miller is your guy. If you need to book a magic show, Miller is your guy for that, too.
These days, however, he’s really too busy to spend a lot of time on sleight-of-hand and mind-reading. After all, he has his own business — Montechna, a play on his name — and he’s a full-time student at MCC-Maple Woods.
The 19-year-old started his computer repair business as a sophomore at Kearney High School. He’d worked very briefly for Best Buy selling computers, where he noticed customers bringing in their broken machines. He figured that once they got home and tried to hook up the cables, they still wouldn’t have a working computer.
So he makes house calls, averaging three to five a week. He also works with businesses — for instance, helping a gym find the right software to charge customers’ credit cards each month.
He still does magic shows from time to time at kids’ birthday parties and the like. That’s a hobby he picked up at the age of 3 — his Sunday school teacher was “Magic Dude” Todd Lamanske.
Not surprisingly, Miller is working on an associate in computer science degree at MCC. He’d initially been accepted to UMKC, but several factors made him change his mind: He wasn’t sure he was ready for a four-year school. At MCC, he could take advantage of Missouri’s A+ scholarship program. He had advanced placement credits that would be accepted here. And MCC’s online course offerings “provided a lot more flexibility,” which would let him operate his business and go to school at the same time.
So far, in fact, all but two of his MCC classes have been online, although that will change as he progresses through his degree program.
He’s not sure what the plan is after graduation from MCC. He’ll take a look at where his business is then. But one possible goal is to become a professor or adjunct professor, teaching computer science or math.
“My family, we’re math people,” Miller says, mentioning that he has several relatives who are math teachers.
Makes sense, then, that this fall Miller will be a paid supplemental instruction leader in an algebra class at Maple Woods, basically a teaching assistant and tutor. The combined Math 40/Math 110 (Introductory Algebra/Intermediate Algebra) class is part of MCC’s FOCUS program, which seeks to make first-year students more successful. It’s funded by a five-year federal grant.
Miller is also a cancer survivor. As an eighth-grader he was diagnosed with fibromyxoid sarcoma, a rare type of soft-tissue cancer.
“Fortunately, one of the best doctors in the U.S. specializing in sarcoma cancers, Dr. Howard Rosenthal, was right here in Kansas City,” Miller says.
After two operations, he was cancer-free, and he remains so 5-1/2 years later.
As for his unusual first name, Montana, well, that’s thanks to his mom. The story is that she was reading a magazine in a doctor’s office and saw that some celebrity baby was named “Montana.” She liked it.
The Montana moniker is certainly distinctive, although he says that in high school he was sometimes confused with another guy with a state name — Dakota.
Find out more about Montana Miller’s computer repair business by visiting his website, montechna.com. He serves the area around Kearney, including Liberty.
Read a Kearney Courier story about him here.