2013 Outstanding Neuroscience Majors
Tooba Anwer has been a member of the University Honors Program during her college career. She will finish with a 4.0 GPA and will attend medical school at UAB next fall. During her four years, Tooba presented nine papers at meetings around the nation, performed extensive volunteer work for eight different organizations, and received many awards including the Best Writer Award and the Award for Excellence in Chemistry. She founded the College Preparatory Organization that assists underprivileged inner city high school students in their preparation for college. Tooba has spent three years working with Dr. Michelle Olsen in the Department of Cell, Developmental and Integrative Biology. She recently completed her honors thesis entitled, "Spinal Cord Astrocyte Dysfunction in a Mouse Model of Alexander Disease." Tooba and Dr. Olsen intend to publish this work soon. In his letter recommending Tooba for this award, Dr. Michael Sloane, Director of the University Honors Program, wrote: "She is the complete package in terms of academics, research and scholarship and extracurricular activities. All of these talents are packaged in a very vivacious young woman with poise, charm, and excellent interpersonal skills."
Allen Young is a member of the Early Medical School Acceptance Program. Allen will graduate this spring with not only a BS in Neuroscience, but a Master's Degree in Public Health. He will complete both degrees within four years and will finish with an overall GPA of 3.98. Allen has made several presentations at meetings during his college career, served as a member of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center Panel to determine how the center can improve patient satisfaction, and founded the Premedical Students Without Borders organization. Following his freshman year at UAB, Allen travelled alone to a village in Ghana to work in a medical clinic. While there, he helped deliver three babies, provide basic care, and HIV support to villagers. Following his sophomore year, Allen went to an Ecuadorian village to work with the Ministry of Public Health providing basic medical and dental care. Allen's research mentor at UAB is Dr. Erik Roberson, a professor in UAB's Department of Neurology. His thesis is entitled, "Frontotemporal Dementia and Progranulin Deficiency." Dr. Roberson said of Allen, "Allen is a genuine star. He has an amazing combination of intellectual firepower, drive, and character, all of which are harnessed in pursuit of his interests in medicine." Next fall, Allen will attend medical school at Johns Hopkins University.
Ashton Wheeler is a member of UAB's Science and Technology Honors Program. She will graduate this spring with a 3.97 GPA. Ashton has received some important honors during her undergraduate career including a Summer Program in Research (SPIN) stipend to conduct research during one summer, and a distinguished national award from the Merck Foundation to spend a summer at the University of Central Florida in a neuroscience laboratory. The latter award also provided Ashton with a $25,000 scholarship. Ashton has served in several leadership positions at UAB and did volunteer work with Children's Hospital, Alabama Hands on Activity Science Program, and ServComm. Ashton spent three years working with Dr. Farah Lubin in the Department of Neurobiology. Her thesis title is, "Histone Methylation Mechanisms of Epilepsy-Related Memory Deficits." Dr. Lubin wrote this about Ashton: "Ashton exceeded all my expectations and has been an exceptional student, performing at the level of a graduate student...Ultimately, I expect that she will contribute significantly to the field of epilepsy research, both clinical and basic, as an independent researcher." Ashton plans to get work experience for one year before attending medical school.