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January 2018 - School of Optometry
National Alumni Society Member

Pierce Headshot 17 18Name: Samuel D. Pierce

Degree(s) and Graduation Year(s): B.S., 1986; O.D., 1988

Hometown: Opp, Alabama

Current town: Vestavia Hills, Alabama

Current employer and job: Doctor of Optometry at Trussville Vision Care. I’m also the President-Elect of the American Optometric Association

What is your favorite UAB memory? Late night study sessions in Lister Hill Library.

How has UAB impacted your life? UAB gave me the tools to be successful in my life and in my career.

What made you choose your current profession? The gift of sight is precious, and to be able to help others better see the world around them is a tremendous joy and a privilege.

What lessons has your professional life taught you? Never be afraid to take a chance. Never pass up an opportunity to help someone. When life blesses you, pay it forward.

If you were given the opportunity to spend 48 hours with absolutely anyone (living or dead), who would you spend it with and what would you do? My father died when I was twelve, so I would choose to spend the time with him. We would drive to the beach and I would attempt to explain the internet, Google and SiriusXM radio.

What song (if any) are you listening to? Chris Stapleton’s “Broken Halos”

If you could have a new talent, what would you want? Play a musical instrument.

Describe your favorite pair of shoes you own now.  A ten year old pair of Lucchasse “pointy-toed” cowboy boots.

I really wish smartphones hadn’t been invented.

Describe your day in a six word sentence: Patients, emails, dinner with my wife...or, Airports, meetings, facetime with my wife.

What do you love most about what you get to do every day? Being involved in the future of my profession.

What’s the closest thing to you that is green? The salad bar (Delta Skyclub—Atlanta Hartsfield Airport, concourse A).

Student Alumni Society Member

ChenName: Albert Chen

Graduation Year: 2018

Major: Doctor of Optometry

Hometown: Plano, Texas

Why did you choose to attend UAB? When I was applying to optometry programs, there were no published rankings on the “best” schools in the country, so I asked a few optometrists from back home for advice. They all graduated from different schools (and as such recommended their own alma maters), but UAB always came up in discussion as a highly reputable and exceptional program from word-of-mouth. Since everybody raved about UAB, I decided to go for the best!

Who is the best professor that you have had at UAB so far (and why)? As my classmates can attest, I am terrible at picking favorites, so I don’t even want to attempt an answer for this question. However, I just want to state for the record that every professor I’ve had during my four years here at UAB has left a positive impact on my life and career. I am so very fortunate to be in an environment where the teachers genuinely enjoy teaching and mentoring the next generation of professionals.

What is your favorite UAB memory? Another tough choice, but if I absolutely had to pick, it would be the last day of our third year in optometry school. We finish all our didactic courses at the end of our third year, so afterwards our class splits up; some of us say goodbye and leave the school for internships, while the rest are in clinic at the school (we rotate each semester). After finishing our last exam, we gathered in our classroom, one last time, to watch a slideshow that featured photos, videos and memories from the past three years. It was incredibly heartwarming to see how much we had grown together as a group since the first day of the program.

How has UAB impacted your life? UAB has become another place I call home, and I fondly think of everyone at the School of Optometry as family. I was in a difficult place mentally and emotionally halfway through my third year, due to an unforeseen tragedy. At the time, I felt completely numb and lost, without any sense of direction or purpose. However, the entire school (faculty, staff, administration, classmates, literally everyone) rallied around me, and the generous outpouring of love and support was positively overwhelming; they lifted me up on my feet and gave me back life and hope, and for that I will be eternally grateful.

If you were on a plane beside your favorite celebrity, what would you do? If my brain doesn’t melt and I can still form coherent sentences, I would probably tell him/her (I have way too many favorite celebrities to pick one for this scenario) that I’m a huge fan, ask for an autograph, and then ask for some life advice. After that, it’s all going to be improvising. 

What is one of your favorite song lyrics (and who is it by)?  “I just might have a problem that you’ll understand; we all need somebody to lean on.” Lean On Me by Bill Withers

The store I frequent the most is Publix.

Describe your day in a six word sentence: Try to be better than yesterday.

What word do you overuse most? “Interesting.” – My go-to for when I have no witty responses or meaningful insight.

The best kind of cake is fruitcake. I know that answer’s unconventional, but it’s only available around the holidays!

What’s the closest thing to you that is green? The Spotify icon on my computer’s desktop.

Who are the people who make your life better? People who comment on and describe the positive aspects of life, instead of bogging down others with complaints and criticisms. Although necessary, I think there’s a huge imbalance towards negativity these days.

What is the best advice you ever received? “Don’t compare yourself to others or get caught up in what they’re are doing. Just do you.”