Minute with a Member
National Alumni Society MemberName: Tammi Mischelle Thomas
Degree and Graduation Year: BS, Double Major: Computer Science and Mathematics, 1984
Hometown: Huntsville, AL
Current Town: Huntsville, AL (and yes, I have lived in other cities since graduation)
Current employer and job: Intergraph Corporation; Vice President of the Global Project Management Office
What is your favorite UAB memory? It would be difficult to select ONE favorite memory as I could write a book about many. I was a student at UAB when Coach Gene Bartow took the basketball team to a new level, a level which included sellout crowds at the BJCC. I traveled near and far to witness some very exciting games, including wins over Kentucky, Virginia, and Louisville in the NCAA Tournament, and the infamous NIT game against Alabama in Tuscaloosa. I still have the newspaper article framed in my loft!
How has UAB impacted your life? During my enrollment at UAB, I engaged in several opportunities to volunteer - both through student leadership activities and Panhellenic. These experiences were very memorable - particularly when it involved children. My belief: OUR children today are OUR leaders tomorrow. Secondly, you have to be involved to make a difference.
What made you choose your current profession? Let's just say that I had a different path in mind when my dad (the NASA engineer) said, "No. Why do that when you can do anything?" He challenged me to do something different, to stand out. Mathematics was fairly easy, and while Computer Science was not exactly what I had in mind (and very new at this time), the combination of the two was indeed a good choice. I wanted to solve problems - and that's a large part of my job today.
What lessons has your professional life taught you? Exude confidence, never be afraid to make a decision, have a global perspective, and be true to yourself. I always encourage young professionals to travel and see the world - experiencing and understanding other cultures and economics will broaden your perspective. Three years ago, I had the opportunity to create a new program at Intergraph, involving new college hires and "onboarding" for a three month period. These lessons are part of the "free advice" I give during these training sessions.
If you could have three wishes, what would they be? 1) Children can be cured of all illnesses; 2) All cancers can be absolved, and 3) UAB goes to the Final Four.
Which historical figure do you most identify with and why? Lucille Ball. She was the queen of humor and of course, she had red hair.
If you had the power to solve one, and only one, problem in the world…what would it be and why? World hunger - no one in this world should ever have to go hungry.
What natural gift would you most like to possess? I would truly like to sing...so I don't sound like Barney in church.
What trait(s) do you most value in your friends? Honesty, trustworthiness, and two-way conversations.
Who would portray you in a film about your life? Nicole Kidman
What is your motto? The world is your oyster!
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? I was taught to always give 110%; and I can't forget advice from my grandmother - always look people in the eyes when speaking to them.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why? I have been very fortunate to have traveled to many countries around the world. I would like to travel to Space and see our world from a different perspective.
If you could start a charity or non-profit organization, what would it be and why? I would create "Confident Girls" for middle school-aged girls through high school. Young girls would be introduced to a variety of activities including math, science, and athletics, all aimed at building self-confidence over several years.
What is something you are proud of and why? I am most proud of raising a child to think for herself, be independent, be respectful of others, and full of confidence.
Where would you go in a time machine? The 1930's.
What 3 items would you take to a deserted island other than food and water? My husband, a camera, and a boat.
Student Alumni Society MemberName: Julia Foley
Graduation Year: 2017
Hometown: Pelham, AL
Why did you choose to attend UAB? UAB has a lot of unique opportunities that aren't at other universities. The Honors Program is one-of-a-kind, and I was able to help in a research lab my first year. It really matched most of what I wanted in an ideal college experience.
Who is the best professor that you have had at UAB so far and why? I've had so many great professors and it's really hard to pick, but Brian Kittredge will always stand out. He directs the UAB Concert Choir, and I go the opportunity to travel to Europe with him and the choir over the summer. He really pours his heart into his work. He cares about each of his students individually, and I'm so grateful to have worked with him.
What is your favorite UAB memory? Anytime it snowed in 2014. I was living on campus, and everyone would pour out of the dorms and have snowball fights and build snowmen. It's just a lot of fun to see everyone taking a break and enjoying the weather.
How has UAB impacted your life? My college experience has definitely shaped me. I've really grown personally, and I've found what I'm passionate about.
What do you do for fun? Anything with my friends. I love going to concerts or local coffee shops or just walking in Railroad Park with people.
Who are your heroes in real life? Most of my heroes are writers because I think they have the most interesting outlooks on life. Anyone from the Transcendentalism movement (Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Oscar Wilde, and Edgar Allan Poe). I also love John Green because he's revolutionized his genre by just bringing an honest view of the adolescent experience.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Telepathy. I always want to know what people are thinking.
What is the best invention of your lifetime and why? I'm a really big fan of the Internet, specifically Netflix. It's a cheap way to have all the information and entertainment of the world without having to make myself presentable to go out.
What are your future goals? Once I finish my undergraduate degree I plan to get my master's in Communication Sciences and Disorders and become a Speech-Language Pathologist.
What would be your ultimate dream job? I would love to work with people on rehabilitating speech in adults after neurological damage.
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? Jay Gatsby. Just so I could throw one of his parties without economic consequences.
What three items would you take to a deserted island other than food and water? My laptop, a blanket, and my cat.
If you had a theme song, what would it be? You Make My Dreams Come True by Hall and Oates.
If you had the power to solve one, and only one, problem in the world…what would it be and why? The lack of clean water globally. Dirty water is the source of more problems than just dehydration. Contaminated water spreads diseases. I feel like if we could get clean water to those who need it we could really solve several problems in one go and provide the greatest amount of good.
What’s the best advice you ever received? Instead of striving for perfection, strive for excellence. Perfection focuses on unrealistic expectations and where you have failed while excellence focuses on celebrating what you have accomplished and what you can accomplish in the future.