Minute with a Member
National Alumni Society Member
Name: Megan Simpson Cooley
Degree(s) and Graduation Year(s): UAB Bachelors of Science, Healthcare Management 2008; UA Master of Arts in Health Studies, 2014
Hometown: Arab, Alabama
Current town: Cullman, Alabama
Current employer and job: Department of Veterans Affairs, Chief Business Office: Purchased Care Supervisor. We assist veterans who need or received care outside of the VA.
What is your favorite UAB memory? My favorite memory is working to help the School of Health Professions win 1st place during Homecoming Week. It’s our school’s tradition to go all out and put forth a huge effort displaying creativity & pride!
How has UAB impacted your life? UAB has affected my life in many ways- giving me some of the best friends & colleagues I could ever imagine. My husband & I most felt the impact of UAB on our lives when I was suddenly admitted at 25 weeks into my pregnancy. My daughter stayed in UAB Women & Children’s Center for 3 months. It was such a relief when we knew so many of our nurses & doctors because we went to UAB with them and we knew we were in such good hands!
What made you choose your current profession? I joined the federal government while I was a student at UAB and worked during my final year of undergraduate studies. It is a very challenging field and ever-changing!
What lessons has your professional life taught you? Patience, understanding, and selflessness. Our nation’s veterans have given so much for us; we owe them the best we can give them.
What would you do if you were given more time in each day? All the things that I have trouble cramming into a weekend.
What invention have you seen in your lifetime that you believe has been the most important? DVR? Wait, just kidding. Our generation has seen a tremendous amount of technology and advancement, especially in the healthcare field. However, I do believe that electronic medical & health records may be my favorite. Our doctors carry around tablets now & electronically send our prescriptions to our pharmacy- imagine explaining that to someone in the 1920s.
If you could have three wishes, what would they be? That there were more days in the weekend, that autumn would last until spring came again, & Chick-fil-a was open on Sunday when I always want it.
If you could go back to any age, which age would it be and why? I don’t think we need to go back & relive the past. What’s done is done, and you can’t look back. Just try to make today & tomorrow better.
If you had the power to solve one, and only one, problem in the world…what would it be and why? The issues we see experienced because of poverty. If everyone was on the same playing field, how would that change things? Would everyone be healthy? Would everyone have clothes & clean water?
What natural gift would you most like to possess? The ability to sing well.
What trait(s) do you most value in your friends? Laughter, dedication & similar values. Life is hard enough and our friends should make it more fun and worth living.
Who would you want to portray you in a film about your life and why? Tina Fey, and I hope it would be a fantastic comedy.
What is your motto? “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle”
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Not everyone has to like you to respect you, so lead by example.
If you could start a charity or non-profit organization, what would it be and why? Being former NICU parents, I would help support those parents with children in the hospital. It’s difficult and the days are long, but you would do anything in the world for your child. They need help with parking money, breakfast, and mostly, emotional support.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why? Australia seems so appealing: beautiful & exotic.
What is something you are proud of and why? We’re currently remodeling our 1920’s Craftsman style home. It’s rough and unfinished, but it’s ours. We have put our sweat in it and we get to hopefully raise our family in it.
What is the last book you read? You and Me Forever by Francis & Lisa Chan
What things do you not like to do? Turn left while driving or eat the purple Skittles in the pack.
What 3 items would you take to a deserted island other than food and water?
1. Sunglasses 2. Radio 3. My family
Might as well make lemonade out of lemons and turn it into a vacation!
Student Alumni Society Member
Name: Karissa Cook
Graduation Year: 2016
Major: Biomedical Sciences
Hometown: Sylacauga, AL
Why did you choose to attend UAB? I made my decision to attend UAB after attending a UAB Day in 2011. It wasn’t the outstanding academics, the cutting edge research, or the endless opportunities for healthcare-related experience. It was the welcoming, fun-loving environment. The campus was so alive, and students seemed to really be proud to be a Blazer. UAB has an atmosphere like no other, and it was a place I knew I would fit right in.
Who is the best professor that you have had at UAB so far and why? My physiology professor, Dr. Chad Epps, gave me a new outlook on learning. He made me realize that learning isn’t just memorizing facts for the purpose of an exam, but exploring information from all angles in a way that will allow you to apply your knowledge to real life scenarios.
What is your favorite UAB memory? My favorite UAB memory was traveling to the NCAA Championship game in Louisville Kentucky to witness the Blazers take the win against Iowa State, 60-59. It was a great day to be a Blazer!
How has UAB impacted your life? UAB has impacted my life in more ways than I could have imagined. Here at UAB, I have done so much learning, both in and outside of the classroom. Among the most important things learned, hard work and determination will only get you so far; it is important to network, and take advantage of the resources available to you. UAB has equipped me with the skills to reach every goal.
What is your current state of mind? I am currently overwhelmed with various emotions of excitement and nervousness as senior year approaches and I complete my application for dental school.
What do you do for fun? I usually spend time with family and friends. Being around the people I love, laughing and having a good time is my favorite thing to do in my spare time.
Who are your heroes in real life? My real life heroes are my parents. They constantly provide me with unconditional love and support, no matter the cost. They couldn’t possibly know just how much I look up to them, and how much I appreciate all that they do for my sister and me.
If you were given more time in each day, what would you do? Sleep! As a busy college student, a full night of sleep is always the untouched thing on my to-do list. Between studying, work, and extra-curricular, it’s so easy to get bogged down with stress, but a full night of sleep makes a world of difference.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be? To fit my active personality I would have the power of multi-location, allowing me to be in more than one place at a time, experiencing and participating in various activities everywhere.
What is the best invention of your lifetime and why? The invention and evolution of the smartphone is an amazing invention for several reasons—two that make it the best in my opinion. #1 – Safety – not only can you make a call to anyone from nearly anywhere, most phones are equipped with a GPS system that can help you find your way to safety or help someone locate you if you are unable to identify your location. #2 –Cameras – never before has it been so easy to connect and stay connected to friends and family from anywhere in the world. With the touch of a screen you can share special moments that would otherwise be missed, watch your child take their first steps in real time, and stay connected in ways unimagined before this lifetime.
What are your future goals? In the future I plan to graduate from dental school. I hope to own my own practice in family and cosmetic dentistry one day.
What would be your ultimate dream job? Someone once said “The greatest challenge in life is discovering who you are…The second greatest is being happy with what you find”. I am still on the road to discovering who I am. So at the end of the day, my dream job is whatever leaves me happy with myself and my impact on others.
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? Kari Byron. It would be amazing to travel.
What three items would you take to a deserted island other than food and water? A satellite GPS, a survivor boat, and a flare gun.
If you had a theme song, what would it be? Somewhere Over the Rainbow
If you had the power to solve one, and only one, problem in the world…what would it be and why? Hate—The world would be a better place if we could all break barriers of hate, and help one another work towards positive things.
What’s the best advice you ever received? Do not worry about things you cannot control because everything happens for a reason.