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SNHU Spotlight: Sharla Kaleihua Kahale-Miner, BS in Criminal Justice Grad

Sharla Kaleihua Kahale-Miner, a 2023 criminal justice graduateSharla Kaleihua Kahale-Miner '23 isn't your average hula-dancing grandmother of nine. She's also an aspiring lawyer with important plans to work toward addressing the displacement of the people of Hawaii.

In spring of 2023, she took another step toward that goal when she finished her bachelor's degree from Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU).

“I'm from the big island of Hawaii,” she said at the ceremony in Manchester, New Hampshire. “And I just graduated and earned a degree in criminal justice.”

Kahale-Miner traveled almost 5,000 miles to celebrate among her fellow graduates. “This was very important to me, to graduate in person,” she said. “Right now, I'm so excited and amazed that I finally got to this point after four years.”

And it was an eventful four years. She even attended the Grammy Awards twice and brought her schoolwork with her. “I have a daughter who is a famous musician in Hawaii, her name is Kimié Miner,” she said. “A couple of times, we went to the Grammys, and I had school.”

She did her coursework while her grandchildren slept after the award shows.

When she first enrolled at SNHU, Kahale-Miner was already a mother of four and grandmother of nine. She worked in travel management for 30 years and owned her own hula studio, too. But despite her full life, she decided she could make even more of an impact.

One of her daughters inspired her to start on a new path. “She was a flight attendant for about five years,” Kahale-Miner said. “And she wanted to become a pilot.”

Seeing her daughter reach that dream inspired Kahale-Miner to go after a dream of her own. “If she can fly an airplane, I can go back to school and get a law degree,” she said.

Although law degrees aren't currently offered at SNHU, she plans to attend law school in Hawaii to build upon the criminal justice degree she just earned and make a positive impact on her community.

“We have land that comes from generations that they've missed out on, so my goal is to become an attorney to help them get back their property and get back their land,” Kahale-Miner said. “So more Hawaiian people will stay in Hawaii and not have to leave their home.”

She said she has a responsibility to care for her family and the people of Hawaii. “My kuleana so to speak, which is my responsibility, is to lead not only my children, but my grandchildren,” she said. “And leave a legacy.”

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Mars Girolimon '21 '23G is a staff writer at Southern New Hampshire University where they earned their bachelor's and master's, both in English and creative writing. In addition to their work in higher education, Girolimon's short fiction is published in the North American Review, So It Goes by The Kurt Vonnegut Museum & Library, X-R-A-Y and more. They're currently writing their debut novel, which was Longlisted for The First Pages Prize. Connect with them on LinkedIn.

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