You are here

New Face: Miles Boulton

An advisor with an unexpected career path

People  |  Oct 30, 2017  |  By Joyce Hsu
Portrait of Miles Boulton

Miles Boulton, Senior Academic Advisor, College of Engineering (Josh Hawkins/UNLV Creative Services)

Before Miles Boulton was advising students what classes to take, he worked in areas one would not expect — from handling shipping and receiving at Sears' warehouses to setting up audio and visual for concert stages. Now, students find this College of Engineering’s new advisor relatable and unexpected because, like so many others, Boulton had to venture through different jobs before he found his true calling.

Where did you grow up?

I was born and raised in Las Vegas so naturally I know the valley like the back of my hand. This city is a hit and miss, people either absolutely love or hate it, and I love it. I’ve really put down some roots; this is my home.

Why UNLV?

It was important for me to be close to home. Having grown up in Vegas, going to UNLV seemed like the natural choice for its convenience and quality of education. I received a bachelor's degree in psychology in 2013.

What inspired you to get into your field?

Both of my parents are retired Clark County schoolteachers so I got to experience the ups and downs of teaching.

Timing was really the key for me being an advisor. When this position opened up, I figured I thrive on human and interpersonal connections, and my experiences in undergraduate biochemistry will be relatable to STEM students. Advising is something I’ve always wanted try and now I can’t picture myself doing anything else.

What is the biggest challenge in your field?

Remembering it’s someone’s first time.

What kind of advisor do you want to be?

I want my students to be able to recognize me and feel comfortable enough to just walk up and strike up a conversation. I want them to feel connected.

What about UNLV strikes you as different from other places you have worked or where you went to school?

Prior to working in higher education, I was working on my feet, opposite of the desk life. For four years I managed Sears’ warehouse shipping and receiving. Concurrently I worked as a stagehand for Rhino Staging (bumped into Justin Timberlake once) and other conventions in town. I loved every second of live event production — the energy, the flow, but the non-traditional hours and crazy traveling really put a strain on my body.

In 2014 an opportunity presented itself to work for UNLV’s provost office as the retention progression and completion specialist to improve student success in completing their degrees. We worked closely with each college’s advising center to coordinate events and provide data and the necessary resources. UNLV is a community. It’s different than other places because I truly feel like I can rely on other departments. It’s very much a family-like environment. There is no ulterior motive, everyone has the same agenda — to help our students succeed and to provide a better learning environment.

Tell us about a time in your life when you have been daring?

It would have to be the time when my friend and I skydived at San Diego. I was overwhelmed with fear and paralyzed with shock before jumping out of the plane. The whole experience helped me overcome fear. There’s nothing like flying through the sky and looking down to put things in perspective, and I would absolutely do it again!

Finish this sentence, "If I couldn't work in my current field, I would like to ..."

I’ve always had a fascination with carpentry, working with my hands. I love seeing the instant progress you make, especially with building things. There’s a certain satisfaction of having created something and being able to call it your own. 

I’m partial to metal working. It might be an influence from my father who’s made various decorative pieces in my office. I’ve dabbled in masks and furniture pieces.

Tell us about an object in your office that has a significance for you and why.

A large tiki mask made by my dad back in the 70’s when he was teaching students how to make paper-mache. If you look closely you can see newspapers dated from that time.

Any tips for success?

Keep your eyes on the prize and experience as much as you can.

I always tell my students that real-life experiences weigh in gold. If I didn’t shadow a pharmacist during my biochemistry undergraduate years I probably would have ended up with a job I don’t enjoy at all. You have this mental image of what you might like but until you actually do it you will have no idea. That’s why I bounced around in so many industries so I could find what my true calling is. 

Pastimes or hobbies?

“Miles runs miles” is a running joke amongst my friends and family. I picked up running in high school and have never stopped since. I even joined my track team at Durango High School.