National Alumni Society MemberName: Linda K. Mancillas, Ph.D.
Degree and Graduation Year: Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Women’s Studies (Summa Cum Laude) with University Honors and University Honors in Political Science (2001)
Hometown: Birmingham, AL (Augusta, GA)—really do not have a hometown. I love Washington, DC.
Current town: Atlanta, GA
Current employer and job: Georgia Gwinnett College, Lawrenceville GA, Asst. Professor
Why are you proud to be a UAB Blazer? UAB is my undergraduate institution, it is where learned the academic ropes. I was fortunate to have professors such as Wendy Gunther-Canada, Ada Long, Beverly Hawk and Steve Haeberle as invaluable mentors. UAB had a huge impact on my life and is a significant factor in my personal choices and professional path.
What made you choose UAB? It was close to my Mountain Brook home and it was open access at that time.
What are your hobbies/what do you like to do in your free time? Cajun dance and travel. I did a Study Abroad to England and to the U.N. in New York City while at UAB. These programs started my global interests and provided a safe platform for me to explore the world.
Why did you decide on your career? The first day I went to the Honors House to meet Ada Long, she placed a Truman Scholarship form in my hands and stated this is YOU. Then, Wendy Gunther-Canada knew Karen O’Connor at American University’s Women & Politics Institute—my path was set and I was off to DC with “good ole girl network” support.
How has UAB changed since you graduated? Ada Long and Dail Mullins are no longer there, this changed the Honors Program. Wendy Gunther Canada is a chair, this was a great thing!
What’s your favorite quote? Eleanor Roosevelt, “Every woman in public life needs to develop skin as tough as rhinoceros …”.
What was your first job? In a bank, yuk!
What is your proudest accomplishment? First, I am a mother of 4 children and a grandmother to five “above average” grandchildren. Secondly, walking across the stage to receive my doctoral degree was the best feeling in the world. I was so proud that I bought myself a Tiffany’s diamond ring—I deserved it!!!
Out of your college experiences, what was your favorite UAB memory? After my daughter passed away in 2003, I needed to come back home from Washington to be with my family. I was allowed to take an independent study for credit with Wendy Gunther Canada. Each day, Wendy and I would collaborate about her up-coming classes, a team teaching experience. This not only helped me handle my extreme grief, but it also prepared me for the political science classroom. UAB has provided a mixture of the personal and professional factors that influenced every aspect of my life.
What was the last book you read? Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Iranian author and professor Azar Nafisi.
What do you like best about your job? My students.
What are your pet peeves? Students being late to class and people pulling out their cell phone when talking to me.
Have you ever won a trophy? Not really but have received a few awards—feels good.
If someone wrote a biography about you, what would the title be? Ambivalence.
If you had a time machine and could only select one year to relive, what year would you travel to? This would be a year before 2003 and 2005, when my daughter and mother were still alive.
What’s the greatest invention in your lifetime and why? Internet, access to information.
Who would you want to portray you in a movie about your life? Liza Minnelli, people used to say we looked alike.
Student Alumni Society MemberName: Sarah Katherine McPhaul
Major: Art History and French with a minor in Finance
Hometown: Birmingham, AL
Why are you proud to be a UAB Blazer? I am happy to represent a great school with high standards.
Why did you choose UAB? I wanted to be close to home, and UAB had a great Art History department.
What are your hobbies/what do you like to do in your free time? I love reading the newspaper, spending time with my cat, and thrift store shopping.
What are your future goals? I plan to get a Masters or PhD in Art History and learn as many languages as possible.
Who is the best professor that you have had so far and why? Dr. Zayzafoon is fantastic. I took her FLL 120 class, and I learned so much about cultures that I was not very familiar with. The material was challenging, but it made me think in new ways.
If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional, with whom would it be? Kate Middleton is so put together and glamorous, so I would not mind being her for a while.
If you had a theme song, what would it be? “You can go your own way” by Fleetwood Mac.
What’s your favorite event at UAB? Any event with food.
Have you ever won a trophy? Does a t-ball trophy count?
What’s the greatest invention in your lifetime and why? The iphone has been significant in the way people communicate.
What’s your favorite study spot on campus? Sterne Library.
What would be your dream job? Editor-in-Chief for Paris Vogue.
If you could go a road trip anywhere with anyone, where would you go and with whom? I would travel throughout the entire U.S. with my boyfriend. American History is one of my favorite subjects.
If someone wrote a biography about you, what would the title be? Lessons Learned
How has the National Alumni Society Dean’s Scholarship helped you? It has helped me with paying for college. I like not having to worry about paying for everything so that I can focus on my schoolwork.