For 2022 social work graduate Alice Miles, walking the stage at the Newman University commencement ceremony was well worth traveling 500 miles from Colorado Springs.
“I’ve spent the last several years with all of these amazing people, so of course, I’m going to walk with them,” Miles said with a smile. “I’ve had the unique opportunity to meet them and grow with them, and this is that moment to celebrate.”
Donning her vibrant red diversity and inclusion stole from Newman, Miles said she was proud to represent her Cherokee background at graduation.
“Natives come in all different colors and all different backgrounds, and they are not as erased in history as they are painted to be,” she said.
Helping others heal through social work
Miles has known since childhood that she was meant to be a social worker.
That’s in part due to her unique ability to make people feel comfortable and guide them on a path toward healing. She wants to use those skills to help people find peace.
Miles chose to earn her bachelor’s degree in social work from Newman University’s Colorado Springs campus, and was initially drawn to the program’s commitment to being trauma informed.
“I’m very impressed with the program, given how new it is,” she said. “The relationships you get to build with the faculty is probably the strongest part of the program that helps you understand foundational and detrimental concepts in social work. I don’t think there’s a better program, because I looked.”
After graduating with her BSW, Miles immediately started her studies in Newman’s Master of Social Work program. She felt her undergraduate experience equipped her with everything she needed to not only begin graduate school, but also to actively work in the field of social work.
Miles plans to wrap up her master’s degree by next spring and then pursue a career in military family life and counseling.
Building her own nonprofit
Currently, Miles works as a case manager at Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center in Colorado Springs, where she assists veterans and their families, as well as active-duty military.
“The interpersonal relationships have helped me understand how to more effectively intervene on the individual and family level,” she said.
Miles also keeps busy as she builds her own nonprofit focused on assisting male victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and abuse.
“I would not be able to do that or make any of the connections and network like I do without the background behind me that I have with Newman and the relationships I’ve made,” she said.
Miles added that creating a nonprofit starts with determination. It continues because of her internal fire that she keeps on burning.
“You have to learn how to stoke that fire by yourself and have amazing people who can poke at you when you get tired,” Miles added. “So you find your tribe, you find your support system and you keep going, even when you’re tired, you just keep going.”
And in all she does, Miles is guided by a simple motto: “If we take care of the moments, the years take care of themselves.”
Explore the bachelor’s to master’s degree in social work at Newman University
Newman University offers a seamless accelerated advanced standing program from the BSW to the MSW, pending successful completion of undergraduate requirements.