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National Alumni Socity Member

Teresa Johns 2Name: Teresa Johns, D.M.D.

Degree(s) and Graduation Year(s): B.S. 1978 UAB, D.M.D. 1983 UAB School of Dentistry

Hometown: Anniston, AL

Current town: Maitland, FL (just outside Orlando)

Current employer and job: Retired from dental practice

What is your favorite UAB memory? Forty years ago there were more trees and fewer buildings.  I enjoyed walking to classes and the urban, campus life.  There are no traffic or parking problems when you’re walking.

Later, Coach Gene Bartow came and there were UAB Blazer Basketball games at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center. There was tremendous support for our first athletic program.

How has UAB impacted your life? I feel so fortunate to have chosen UAB for my undergraduate and graduate education. UAB has one of finest Dental Schools in the country. It is measurably among the best in education, research, and professional standards.  My education and training from UAB has allowed me to translate my dreams and aspirations into reality.

What made you choose your current profession? I knew from a young age, I wanted to be a ‘doctor’. I wanted a healthcare career that would allow individuality and expression, plus, I could be my own boss. Dentistry was the ticket.

What lessons has your professional life taught you? Two(2) P’s, Patience and Patients.  Patience is a “quiet, steady perseverance”.  Patients are unique individuals with their own perceptions of dentistry.

What would you do if you were given more time in each day? I should say I would read or exercise more, but I won’t.

What invention have you seen in your lifetime that you believe has been the most important? Mobile telecommunication-Mr. Bell could not have imagined.

If you could have three wishes, what would they be? First and foremost, I wish for a healthy and mindful life. Second, I wish for security. Last, I wish for unification and accordance in my country.

If you could go back to any age, which age would it be and why? I cannot say I would go back to any age. It is a blessing to be this age and have survived the ups and downs.

Which historical figure do you most identify with and why? Eleanor Roosevelt. She was a woman full of knowledge and opinions. She championed human rights. I wish I could be just a little like this great women.

If you had the power to solve one, and only one, problem in the world…what would it be and why? It’s not as common as world peace or poverty or clean water; I would give everyone happy, healthy smiles. Smiles can go a long way toward solving many other problems.

What natural gift would you most like to possess? I want to be able to sing.

What trait(s) do you most value in your friends? I value truthfulness, loyalty and integrity. One of my closest friends has been there for me since the fourth grade. We were at UAB together and continue our friendship through these almost 50 years.

What is your motto? It’s a book entitled; You Are Your Choices, by Alexandra Stoddard.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received? From my Dad, “hold what you got”. My stick-to-itiveness has served me well.  

If you could start a charity or non-profit organization, what would it be and why? I would establish an organization to promote Nationalism especially in young children and new citizens. Our youngest and newest citizens, either by birth or choice, need to be a unified community of our great nation.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why? Paris, France I want to see and experience The Louvre.

What is something you are proud of and why? I am proud of my education and profession. I know I had a superior education and dentistry is among the most respected professions.

What is the last book you read? Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

What things do you not like to do? I don’t like to run. Walking is fine but is running is not fun. I don’t like to be messy. I prefer neat and orderly. I am a little obsessive-compulsive.

Where would you go in a time machine and why? Washington D.C. in 1920-The 19th Amendment to the Constitution was passed giving women the right to vote.

Student Alumni Society Member

Markelle SmithName: Markelle Smith

Graduation Year: 2013

Major: Spanish

Hometown: Demopolis, AL

Why did you choose to attend UAB? I chose to attend UAB for several reasons. First, my mother completed her master’s degree here at UAB. Additionally, being from a smaller town, I liked the idea of living in a bigger city. Birmingham has so much to offer and is continuing to grow, along with UAB. Finally, I chose to attend because of its world-renowned healthcare facilities. I knew that I would choose a career in health, so it seemed like the obvious choice. So far, I have not been disappointed with my decision.

Who is the best professor that you have had at UAB so far and why? Maria Centeno was perhaps the best teacher I’ve had so far at UAB. She was very passionate about teaching her native language and played a huge part of me becoming fluent in Spanish by leading the Spanish conversation table. She was just a very sweet person and we shared many entertaining conversations together.

How has UAB impacted your life? UAB has equipped me with valuable skills that I certainly did not expect to receive when I started. I held positions in numerous student organizations, such as the UAB Ambassador Program, BMEN, Student Housing and the Office for Student Academic Success. As a result of being surrounded by individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds, I was able to cultivate leadership and communication skills that just can’t be taught in a classroom.

What is your current state of mind? That’s an interesting question. Being in dental school has a tendency to occupy a large majority of my time so I’m mostly thinking about what is due for class or what I have to study for. However, at 25, I’m using most of my free time to get to know myself, be adventurous and do as much as I can while I’m able.

What do you do for fun? I’m very easily entertained so it doesn’t take much for me to have fun. I enjoy going to out dinner with friends, traveling, going to the movies, yoga and the occasional night on the town.

Who are your heroes in real life? My mom is pretty awesome. Aside from being smart and hardworking, she treats people well, values the important things in life, and is always there to offer me support and advice whenever I need it. She’s also pretty funny.

If you were given more time in each day, what would you do? I would like to think that I would read more books for pleasure, do some sort of outdoor activity or do something really great, but I would probably just end up sleeping a little bit more.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be? I think being able to be invisible would be a nice superpower for me. I tend to be easily noticeable due to my height, so sometimes it’d be great to go under the radar.

What is the best invention of your lifetime and why? The smartphone. There is nothing you can’t do on a smartphone.

What are your future goals? My most pressing goal is to graduate from dental school. Afterwards, I’m not really sure what I want to do. I could see myself opening up a practice in another big city. However, I’m open to many other options. I know at some point I will end up doing some kind of teaching. Additionally, I’ve recently started to learn French and would like to be fluent over the next few years. Whatever I end up doing, I just want to be emotionally happy. 

What would be your ultimate dream job? My ultimate dream job would be doing some kind of performing. I really enjoy dancing so I think it’d be cool to be a famous dancer or choreographer.

If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fiction, with whom would it be? I think it’d be interesting to be a famous super model like Tyson Beckford or River Viiperi. However, I think the universe would make me trade with Beyonce.

What three items would you take to a deserted island other than food and water? “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel García Marquéz, my dog and a deck of playing cards.

If you had the power to solve one, and only one, problem in the world…what would it be and why? Poverty. If people didn’t have to worry about being able to pay for their next meal or paying for medical expense, we as a human race could be even more productive.

What’s the best advice you ever received? Those who mind, don’t matter. Those who matter, don’t mind.