GS: Where are you from?
RG: Montgomery, AL
GS: What degree will you receive and when?
RG: PhD in epidemiology, hopefully by the end of the year
GS: How long have you been at UAB?
RG: Since I began my undergrad here in the Fall of 2000. I graduated from UAB in 2003 with a B.S. in Biology and in 2006 with a M.P.H. in Epidemiology.
GS: What is your research?
RG: My main research is in injury epidemiology, with a focus on prevention and treatment of traumatic injuries.
GS: Why did you choose UAB for your graduate studies?
RG: After my experience as an undergrad, I knew I could get a quality education at UAB, particularly since the School of Public Health is one of the best in the nation.
GS: Have you received any awards or honors?
RG: In 2008 I was selected as the UAB University Transportation Center Student of the Year.
GS: What has been your most rewarding experience at UAB?
RG: Having the ability to work with people who are prolific and knowledgeable researchers in their field. Because of the relationships with faculty and other students formed as a student here at UAB, I have been able to publish a collection of studies, which I think will give me an advantage on my contemporaries once I graduate.
GS: Who was your greatest influence here at UAB and why?
RG: As an undergrad, it was Ada Long, the former director of the UAB Honors Program, who led me towards the field of Public Health. As a graduate student, by far my biggest influence is Dr. Gerald McGwin, a professor of Epidemiology. He has been my advisor since I was a M.P.H. student, and has given me invaluable experience and confidence in terms of developing, conducting, and writing epidemiological studies that far outweigh what I’ve learned in the classroom.
GS: What is your motivation in your academics/research?
RG: Helping to contribute to the knowledge of the prevention and treatment of traumatic injuries.
GS: What are your plans after graduating and for the future?
RG: I hope to continue my research interests in injury epidemiology and work in the academic field. My goal is to teach at a doctoral level.
Russell’s advice for other graduate students:
UAB has a wealth of research opportunities, but in order to take advantage of it you need to be proactive. If you have a particular interest in a field, find a faculty member doing similar research and ask to meet with them. Even if they cannot help you, chances are that they know someone who can. Also, don’t be afraid to be a TA or teach classes. The best way to learn your field is to teach it to someone else.