As an African-American female raised by a single parent in a low-income home, Miracle Chase was always determined to tip the odds of life in her favor.
Chase was the first person in her family to attend, and now graduate, from college. On May 12, the Earl, Arkansas, native will receive a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock at only 20 years old.
In high school, Chase was one of the smartest students in her graduating class, earning the rank of salutatorian, while accumulating more than 30 hours of college credit. When it came time to make the transition to college, however, thoughts of being subpar or less than intelligent clouded her mind.
“I came to UA Little Rock knowing nothing about life outside of my little bubble,” Chase said. “Back home, everyone was rooting for me, but in actuality, I was lost and felt like I wasn’t good enough and did not deserve to be here.”
Leading her high school class in grades gave Chase a boost of confidence that she was unsure she would experience in college. Rather than allow those thoughts to gain further traction, Chase decided to change her disposition and put just as much into succeeding in higher education as she had done in high school.
“I had to tell myself, ‘I am good enough’ and ‘I am supposed to be here,’” she said.
Starting out as a UA Little Rock freshman, Chase had her mind set on becoming a social worker, but after applying for admittance into the program, she was denied.
“Although I had more than enough credit hours, I wasn’t admitted due to a recent change in the admission requirements,” she explained. “I was completely devastated and didn’t know what to do next.”
Chase was advised to give sociology a try since the major had many similarities to social work. Due to her love for people and interest in social issues, she decided to give it a try and hasn’t looked back since.
Outside of the classroom, Chase keeps herself busy and is always looking for an opportunity to excel. She is a proud member of the Chancellor’s Leadership Corps, McNair Scholars Program, UA Little Rock Honors College, African American Female Initiative, Circle K International, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. She also serves as an ambassador for the College of Social Sciences and Communication.
With so much on her plate, it’s been easy for Chase to find areas of her life that could use improvement, but she often pulls from words of encouragement that serve as pick-me-ups for when she doesn’t feel at her best.
“I remember breaking down crying during my first research project with the McNair Scholars Program,” Chase recalled.
“Minutes later, I watched a speech from former first lady Michelle Obama explaining how she dreamed about going to college and hearing people say it was unreachable. Her words, ‘You should never view your challenges as a disadvantage. Instead, it’s important for you to understand that your experience facing and overcoming adversity is actually one of your biggest advantages,’ have stuck with me until this day. I reflected back on all the struggles I’d been through and I took it as a fuel to exceed my goals.”
Chase also found support in the people who love her and continue to light her fire, including her family, close friends, and church members.
“They have heard my excuses and made me work harder,” Chase said.
In addition, Chase met professors and professionals who helped to make her educational journey one to remember, including Nicholas Steele, Drs. Ge Chen, Adriana Lopez, Simon McClain, David Briscoe, and Amin Akhnoukh. “If I could change anything about my experience at UA Little Rock, I wouldn’t,” Chase said. “Everything happens for a reason, and every event or experience shapes us for the next.”
After graduation, Chase plans to spend her summer attending UA Little Rock’s counselor education program.