GS: Where are you from?
SB: I grew up in Moline, Illinois, which is right on the Mississippi River, and I went to Washington University in Saint Louis for my undergraduate studies.
GS: What degree(s) did you you receive and when?
SB: I will receive my PhD in August and my MD in May of 2016.
GS: How long have you been at UAB?
SB: I have been at UAB for 5 years now as part of the Medical Scientist Training Program.
GS: What is your research? 

I study the role of the Schwann cell growth factor neuregulin-1 and its receptors in the pathogenesis of malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors.

GS: Why did you choose UAB for your graduate studies?
SB: I came to UAB for my graduate training due to the excellent reputation of the medical center, the outstanding track record of research funding, and the collegiality and welcoming community created by the faculty and students within the Medical Scientist Training Program. From the moment I set foot on the campus, Birmingham has felt like home.
GS: What awards or honors have you received?
SB: Samuel B. Barker Award for Excellence in Graduate Studies at the Doctoral Level; Best Basic Science Poster, Simpson-Ramsey Neurodevelopment Symposium, April 2014; Medical Student Research Day Neuroscience Poster Award, Fall 2013; Comprehensive Neuroscience Center Retreat Second Place Data Presentation, Summer 2013; James M. Pittman Award for Commitment to Scholarship, Spring 2013; Department of Pathology Travel Grant, May 2013; Ralph D. Lillie Award for Outstanding Research Presentation in Pathology and Histochemistry, April 2013; Histochemical Society Travel Grant, April 2013; Graduate Student Association Travel Grant, Fall 2012; Medical Student Research Day Best Poster in Neuroscience, Fall 2012; Histochemical Society Travel Grant, March 2012; AAAS/ Science Program for Excellence in Science 2009-2012

What has been your most rewarding experience at UAB?


My most rewarding experience at UAB has been working as a trainer for standardized patients in the medical school, where I help teach first and second year medical students basic physical exam skills. I also collaborated with other students to develop a program to help MD/PhD students maintain their clinical skills while pursuing graduate training.

GS: Who was your greatest influence here at UAB and why?

My greatest influence on campus at UAB has been my program director, Dr. Robin Lorenz.  She has taught me a tremendous amount about leadership, curriculum development, and balancing academic, clinical, and family responsibilities.  Her patience, willingness to listen, and words of wisdom have helped to guide me through this program and were integral to my success. My mentor, Dr. Steven Carroll, who has guided my scientific development and given me numerous opportunities to thrive, has also had a strong influence on my graduate training.

GS: What is your motivation in your academics/research?

I have always been a curious person, wanting to know how the world before me works. There is something thrilling about the constant evolution of our knowledge base and our ability to contribute a new discovery to that foundation.  However, for me the most rewarding aspect remains the clinical implications of basic and translational research and the potential to apply this knowledge to patient care.


What are your plans after graduating and for the future?

SB: After my thesis defense, I will return to medical school and complete my clinical training in order to pursue a residency in neurology and fellowship in neuro-oncology.  My ultimate goal is to stay in academia and to split my time between patient care and running my own laboratory.

Is there anything else you would like to say?

SB: UAB has been a wonderful place to train, and I am extremely grateful for all of the opportunities I have been afforded on this campus and for all of the faculty and staff who have contributed to my development as a scientist.

Stephanie’s Advice for Other Graduate Students:
Take advantage of all of the opportunities on campus such as career development seminars, symposia, retreats, and invited speakers.   These activities may advance your training by helping you to procure external funding, enable you to network with people in your field, and provide insight or a different perspective on your research.  In addition to seeking out ways to enrich your training, make sure to surround yourself with people who care about your wellbeing and help you to see when to step away from an experiment for the day.  It can be easy to become myopic in graduate school, but taking the time to go out with friends, explore Birmingham, and engage with your community will renew your focus and resolve in difficult times.