Graduate School News

Meet Your Student Leaders: Nirzari Gupta, president of GSG

1. Nirzari Alokkumar PresidentThe Graduate School has launched another new series called "Meet Your Student Leaders." This series will provide graduate students and postdoctoral fellows an opportunity to get to know the students who run the various graduate student organizations. This week's featured student leader is Nirzari Gupta, president of the Graduate Student Government.
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Discoveries: The sweet science behind mending muscle

IMG 0174Rylie Hightower, a third-year graduate student in the Graduate Biomedial Sciences neuroscience program, studies proteins and other factors that contribute to the progression of muscular dystrophy. 

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Link to Leadership: Dr. Lisa Schwiebert, Associate Dean for Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs

GRAD logo without taglineEmbarking on the graduate school journey can be a challenging experience, but it helps if you understand the major players involved in that experience. This new series, "Link to Leadership," features Q&As with UAB's Graduate School leaders and an opportunity for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to get to know these leaders on a deeper level.
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Blazer Spotlights

Hisham Abdelmotilib

Hisham Abdelmotilib

Jacqueline Vo

Jacqueline Vo

Kendra Royston

Kendra Royston

Samir Rana

Samir Rana

Anna received her A.A. (Summa Cum Laude) from Central Alabama Community College in 2003. After transferring to UAB as a junior, she received her B.S. (Summa Cum Laude) in Biology with honors and a minor in Chemistry in December 2005. She received her MS in Biology in December 2006 with an overall 4.0 GPA.

Anna worked in the lab of Dr. Stephen Watts. The lab focused on developing nutritionally-complete, formulated feeds for sea urchins. In Europe and Asia, sea urchin gonads are considered a delicacy, and sea urchins must be grown in an aquaculture setting to support the huge demand. Her work was specifically geared toward determining the effect of different energy levels and carbohydrate levels on the growth of juvenile sea urchins.

Shortly after arriving at UAB, Anna was called to the teaching field. More specifically, she wanted to teach at her community college alma mater, Central Alabama. She knew that in order to fulfill that goal that she must get at least a Master’s degree. After exploring her options, she found the 5th year Master’s of Biology program was the most appropriate for her goals. Anna states, “I chose this program, because I could begin working on my Master’s while I was completing my Master’s. I was also impressed with this program, because I was able to teach biology laboratories. Besides just being involved with the biology department, UAB also provided several graduate chemistry courses that were appropriate for my goals.”

While attending UAB, Anna received the Outstanding Graduate Student Award (Master’s) in Biology (2006), Bore the Academic Gonfalon for the School of Natural Science and Mathematics at the December 2006 Commencement Ceremony, 2nd place in the Alabama Academy of Science paper competition (2006), and was nominated for Outstanding Undergraduate Student in Biology (2005).

When asked about her positive experiences at UAB, Anna replied, “One of my most rewarding experiences at UAB has been to see my research influencing others. I feel such a huge sense of accomplishment when my findings are used by others to better understand their data or their research. To see other fellow scientist appreciate your work is very rewarding. The other great reward that I experienced while at UAB was the opportunity to work hands-on with students. It was very rewarding when I was able to see my students succeed.” She also adds, “I worked with so many great people while at UAB but, Dr. Watts was very influential as a researcher, biologist, and teacher. My success at UAB would not have been possible without him. But, I also had the opportunity to work with Qwameca Cole during the summer teaching microbiology labs, and I learned so much from her in such a very short amount of time. She was very influential, because she was genuinely concerned with helping the students learn, and helping them become successful students.”

Anna’s advice to future graduate students is, “chose the career that pleases your heart. My heart was set on teaching, but it is very easy to get distracted along the way. Pursue your true dream accepting that the journey was not meant to be easy.”

In August 2006, Anna was offered a position teaching biology and chemistry at Central Alabama Community College where she is also the head volleyball coach. She plans to continue teaching and coaching at Central Alabama Community College, Alexander City.