Miranda Minton, College of Health and Human Sciences

Miranda Minton has faced more than her fair share of challenges. After fighting through addiction, incarceration, divorce and personal tragedy, Minton will take her place among those who will walk in Colorado State University’s fall commencement ceremony to receiver her degree in social work from the College of Health and Human Sciences.

The always-optimistic Minton is a Fort Collins native who said she had a wonderful childhood. She graduated from Poudre High School in 2002. That was the same year her mother died — and when Minton started a struggle with drug addiction that grew so powerful that it landed her in prison.

“I see my experience with prison as a lifesaver,” says Minton. “I refocused who I was and found myself again. And I used that time there to work on myself.”

Minton took college classes in prison and was a few credits shy of getting her associate’s degree in horticulture. She also focused on her health and began to run and get in shape. Using her personal experiences as a guide, she decided to pursue a career as a counselor.

Life again took another unexpected turn. Or two.

Minton married and divorced and had two sons along the way, but did finish her associate’s degree. She took advantage of Project Self-Sufficiency — a program that helps single parents obtain a degree, employment and housing — to help make her longtime dream of getting her bachelor’s degree a reality.

The School of Social Work has also been an excellent support system, she says. And her two sons have been the driving force through the struggles.

“My family has been my cheerleaders,” Minton says. “There were times when I didn’t think I would be able to finish, but I think about my two boys and it reminds me why I am doing this.”

Minton currently is participating in an internship through the Northern Colorado AIDS Project, and hopes to use her degree to become a drug and alcohol counselor in the correction system.