On the precipice of a nursing dreamShameka Rogers Internal

Shameka Rodgers has wanted to be a nurse her entire life. The daughter of a certified nursing assistant, the Georgiana, Ala.-native spent time at the nursing home where her mom worked and developed a passion for helping others.

“I have know since I watched a health video in 8th grade that I eventually want to be an OB nurse practitioner,” she said.

Rodgers is on the precipice of that dream. She graduated from UAB Saturday, April 26 with her bachelor’s of science in nursing and she was selected by university administration to deliver the undergraduate address at the 2 p.m. ceremony. She was nominated by Amy Atkisson, program manager for the experiential learning scholars program at UAB.

Rodgers will tell you getting here has not been easy – there have been bumps along the way. From a single-income household, she knew scholarships were the only way her family could afford to send her to UAB – her first and only choice.

“I came here on and FBLA trip in 9th grade and I knew this was where I wanted to be as soon as I got off the bus,” she said.

With a focus on achieving her goals, Rodgers worked diligently through high school to achieve good grades, excellent test scores, and most importantly, applied for scholarships when the time came.

And since arriving at UAB she has not only been a, exceptional student and leader in the School of Nursing, Rodgers has been a leader across campus.

She is a member of the Experiential Learning Scholars Program and the School of Nursing Honors Program.  Her numerous scholarship awards include the Brock Family Endowed Nursing, Lettie P. Whitehead Nursing, Mary J. Harwell Nursing, UAB Equity and Diversity, and UAB Collegiate scholarships.

An orientation leader coordinator and a resident assistant, she held membership in the Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society, Student Nurses Association, Golden Key International Honor Society, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc., National Panhellenic Council, Gamma Sigma Alpha Greek Honors Society, Alpha Lambda Delta Freshman Honor Society and the Multicultural Scholars Program.  

But, there have been challenges at UAB too; the most significant came in her second semester in the nursing program.

“My house in Georgiana caught fire,” she said. “And I didn’t tell anyone. I just kept going.”

And, she credits UAB’s TRIO Academic Services with helping her through her college experience, with academic, emotional and financial support when times were tough.

Perseverance was the theme of Rodgers commencement speech.

“I am encouraging everyone to reflect on everything they have learned while they have been at UAB – good or bad – because it all can be applied to life,” she said. “I want them to know not to let anyone stop them from achieving their goals. We have been given the keys to success by UAB and it is up to each up us to do everything we can to achieve our dreams.”

Step two to achieve her dream is set to start May 5. Rodgers will begin her master’s work at the UAB School of Nursing to become a family nurse practitioner and has taken a job at UAB Hospital, working in the UAB Women and Infants Center Gynecology/Oncology Nursing Unit.