La'Tonya "LT" Rease Miles is a leader in university academic and student affairs and specializes in student development among diverse and underrepresented populations. Her established programs for first-generation college students—at UCLA and at Loyola Marymount University—are national Best Practices models, transforming both universities into First-Gen Forward institutions. A popular strategist and speaker, she also started and manages the dynamic Facebook group, "Empowering First Generation Students.” A first-generation college graduate, Dr. Miles earned a Ph.D. in American literature from UCLA and always looks for the next community to build and the next narrative to share.
LT advises higher education institutions around the nation as well as local high schools about first-gen students, new to college students, and students of color, assisting them in developing student-centered resources and programs.
LT is a trusted national expert on all things related to first-generation students and has served as an advising figure on several initiatives.
She is a member of or has sat on multiple national advisory boards, including the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators' (NASPA) Center for First-generation Student Success, the Journal of First-generation Student Success, and Penguin Random House Common Reader program, among others. In addition, she has reviewed books for Stylus Publishing, Routledge Press, and the National Resource Center press.
LT regularly collaborates with institutions and organizations across the country, working with various teams to turn scholarship into real impact.
In developing these partnerships, her consulting guidance has led to the creation of the University of California First-Gen Collaborative and the Black First-Gen Collective, a NASPA initiative that supports, studies, and disseminates intentional research, praxis, and policy focused on the unique experiences of Black first-generation undergraduate and graduate or professional school students. She has brought to similar programs to local high schools and two-year colleges in the Los Angeles area.
LT brings people together and utilizes her expertise to facilitate ongoing conversations nationwide with the
She created and manages a dynamic national Facebook group, "Empowering First Generation Students,” comprised of an ever-growing 7,000+ students, faculty, and student affairs professionals; is the Chief Strategist for the First Gen & Juice brand, which celebrates first-generation college students and graduates in pop culture and media; and has spearheaded the Catalyst Awards, which honors storytelling about the first-generation experience in the popular media.
An advocate, LT is always looking forward to the next community to build and the next narrative to share.
She has shared her knowledge and enthusiasm in staff trainings, motivational talks, and keynote addresses across numerous institutions and organizations. Currently, she is available to speak to crowds big and small, student and professional, in-person and virtual.