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Mav Roundup


Providing motivated Mavericks every chance to make a difference

Allyson Miles

Photograph by Ingrid Leyva

For Allyson Miles, scholarships provide much more than a means to make ends meet. They infuse her with the confidence to overcome a painful genetic condition while fulfilling her educational and career dreams.

The Master of Social Work (MSW) student faces a daily battle with neurofibromatosis, which causes acute scoliosis and severely restricts her range of motion. But she’s determined to press on, thanks in part to receiving the Lila B. Hagins Scholarship.

“At times, I feel like I’m the only one cheering myself on as I go through this academic journey,” Miles says. “This award shows that people think I can achieve this degree and are supporting me in my efforts.”

Named for an influential faculty member who helped launch UTA’s MSW program, the Lila B. Hagins Scholarship benefits outstanding social work students who demonstrate financial need and plan to pursue a social service career.

The opportunity to work with aging populations, particularly those with dementia or who need end-of-life care, drives Miles to succeed academically. Her thesis will explore the use of robotic pets to help dementia and hospice patients. She also wants to advocate for loved ones impacted by the stress of caregiving and loss of family members.

Assisting victims of serious crimes is another potential career path for Miles. She experienced the collective trauma of the 2019 mass shooting that killed 23 people and injured 23 others at a Walmart in her hometown of El Paso, Texas.

“I saw and felt the impact of that shooting physically and emotionally. I could not sleep for weeks,” she recalls. “I would love the opportunity to support victims of major crimes such as that one.”

Miles is already supporting her fellow Mavericks by serving as a Graduate Student Leader in the School of Social Work. In that role, she builds community and connections among MSW students.

About 75 alumni, faculty, and friends have made gifts supporting the Lila B. Hagins Scholarship since its establishment. Miles is grateful to be among the recipients.

“I have learned in the social work field that I can still advocate even as a disabled individual,” she says. “I want to be an amazing social worker, and the support from these generous donors is moving me closer to achieving that goal.”

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