Pamela Miller

photo of Pamela Miller

  • BA in Philosophy (2005)
  • Juris Doctor (JD) and Master of Social Work (MSW) (University of Cincinnati)
  • works as a clinical social worker and attorney at Lighthouse Youth Services and The Children's Justice Project
  • became a student leader through Miami's Women's Center, Phi Mu sorority, and other extracurricular activities

My Profession

"As a clinical social worker and attorney, I work in a variety of roles. Half my time is devoted to my psychotherapy practice, where I treat young children, ages 3-8, in foster care for trauma and attachment disorders. Most of these children have survived child abuse and neglect, so I specialize in using play therapy. I also train therapists, speak at conferences, and conduct research in this field.

"I devote the rest of my time to several other activities, including running a small charity, The Children's Justice Project, which I started to provide emergency assistance to families in poverty. I also serve as the regional director of the National Association of Social Workers and on the Amicus and Public Policy Committee of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, where I help write legal briefs that are submitted in appellate courts. I also serve on three other non-profit boards.

"I became interested in philosophy after I took a philosophy of religion course at another school. I realized that the questions philosophers are concerned with are the things I had been pondering all my life: God and a metaphysical realm, morality, ethics, self-consciousness and theory of mind, psychoanalysis, the role of the individual in society, fighting oppression and injustice, and finding meaning in the human experience.

"Because I was in several foster homes as a teenager, I came to Miami as a 17-year-old freshman with only a 10th grade education and a GED — yet also with a strong intellectual ability and a true passion for learning. At first I felt dumb compared to my classmates, but my professors helped me until I caught up academically, and I was able to graduate with honors.

"My Miami education has helped me reach my full potential, taught me how the world works, and made me smart enough to go on to complete law school and a master's degree at the same time. Every day in my career, I use skills I learned at Miami, such as high level reading and research ability, excellent writing skills, strong persuasive argument skills, and the ability to think creatively and forge new paths in my field.

"I would like to expand my research and publishing, and would like to eventually teach part-time. Also, by the end of 2018 I will have earned my certification as a leading expert in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy."

Best Miami Experiences

"My fondest Miami memories are about forming the relationships that developed my identity as a young adult, all within the supportive and nurturing environment of the university community.

"Specific favorite moments that come to mind include laying out on a blanket in the Formal Gardens while studying for finals, performing Mozart's Requiem with the combined Miami choirs and symphony orchestra, getting my certificate for making President's List with a 4.0 GPA, dancing in a ballgown at the Charter Day Ball with my boyfriend of many years, performing a Christmas candlelight concert at Kumler Chapel, cantering on a horse for the first time without falling off, and finally being old enough to go out for Green Beer Day my senior year!

"Getting serious about my grades and law school admissions exam towards the end of my sophomore year at Miami has helped me achieve a successful career. I ended up getting a 4.0 GPA for my junior year, which allowed me to get into several top law schools and earn a full scholarship to my joint JD/MSW program.

"On top of that, I engaged with my professors and became a student leader through engagement with the Women's Center and my sorority, Phi Mu. I was lucky enough to be mentored by one of my philosophy professors and the staff at the Women's Center. All of this helped me tremendously in adjusting to campus life and the college experience!

"I was involved in a number of extracurricular activities, not just classroom learning, that allowed my identity and purpose in life to coalesce. My engagement with the Women's Center was particularly helpful. Through its programming and mentoring, I became a feminist and began to understand how many life experiences have been shaped by society's oppression of women and children. Through the Women's Center, I became an activist and founded a women's survivors group, "Finding Our Voices.”

"I had many other formative extracurricular activities at Miami as well, including:

  • becoming chaplain of my sorority Phi Mu, which developed my outlook on spirituality, morality, and developing loving communities
  • participation in the women's choir, Choraliers, which developed my musical talent, joy and passion for the arts, and sense of community and friendship among fellow women
  • my study abroad trip to Berlin, Germany, which expanded my worldview
  • two years of horseback riding lessons for PE credit, which were incredibly therapeutic for me in my recovery from trauma and PTSD and helped build my assertiveness and confidence"

Miami and the Liberal Arts

"A liberal arts education is priceless. The most successful and effective adults have a broad understanding of human knowledge — from the arts to social and biological sciences, physical sciences, math, and humanities like religion, philosophy, and literature. Some of the best classes I took at Miami had no direct connection to my career, but they continue to inform who I am as person in society.

"Some of my favorite classes at Miami included the social history of infectious disease, ethnomusicology (the study of non-western music), geology and tectonic plate shift, formal logic, British literature, ballet, macro-economics, and an international studies course on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

"Philosophy majors have many potential career paths: in professional fields (attorney, physician), social justice (activism, social work, social services, public policy), politics, psychology, or becoming a professor in the humanities or social sciences."

Advice to Students

"Try to get as much education as you can — don't be in a hurry to get into the workforce. Being in undergraduate or graduate education in a supportive university community is the best way to prepare for the challenges of a professional career and adult life. The more education you get, the more you will grow as a human being.

"Also, the more education you get, the more opportunities you will have in your career!"

[May 2018]