“What drives me is advice I received from my super successful brother who always told me: ‘It's hard but it's fair and if it were easy, everyone would do it!’," said Johnson, who earned his bachelor’s degree in the UAB Respiratory Therapy Program. “It takes a lot of work to be part of a certain profession so there is no sense in complaining because it's what you sign up for and one day you'll reap the benefits from all the struggle.”
“My husband and I were living in Birmingham for his work and I decided to take advantage of UAB’s strengths in research and in its Comprehensive Cancer Center to pursue a long-standing interest in cancer research,” said Libby, a native of Washington, D.C.
Libby is a third-year predoctoral student in the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Nutrition Sciences. She is focused on investigating the role of autophagy, a cellular process of self-eating, in breast cancer metastasis.
Nance originally earned a Bachelor of Arts in economics and spent the past 17 years as a banker in Chattanooga, Tenn. She held a secure position as a portfolio manager at First Tennessee Bank when she decided to give it all up and become an occupational therapist (OT). It is a career move that is reflective of Nance’s personal objectives.
Never one to shy away from new experiences and new challenges, part of the draw to the UAB School of Health Professions for Mariano, a native of Prospect, Conn., was the fact that the genetic counseling program enrolled its first class only three years ago. She wanted to be part of the growth and the excitement that surrounds a newer program.
“I am well along in my career and even though I have already achieved many of my career goals, if I want to go any further, I know I need to obtain a new set of skills,” said Jenkins. “As I took on more leadership roles within my department and within UAB, I found that I needed business, leadership, and human resources skills that I did not possess.”
Wade Hurston has never been one for auto-pilot. Not in education, career or life. He has always set, and navigated the path carefully.
So it is not a random wandering from the assigned course that Hurston, who has a baccalaureate AND a master degree in aerospace engineering, is a doctoral student in the Department of Physical Therapy. He was looking for a career where he could soar.
Before coming to UAB, Veeradej Pisprasert, M.D., was an assistant professor at Khonkaen University in Thailand in the Clinical Division in the Department of Medicine. In his country, the two main areas of concern for nutrition include malnutrition and obesity. It’s a big enough issue that his government sent him to school in the United States.
“Recently, physicians have realized the importance of clinical nutrition which may improve clinical outcome of treatment,” said Pisprasert. “However, the practice would not be successful without novel knowledge from research.”
“After learning more about the profession, I can see how the field uses my talents and gifts I have been given and allows me to make the most of those,” said Coggins.
For once, being from a small town has its advantages especially for Candice Hudson. The West Blocton, Ala. native earned her bachelor’s degree in respiratory therapy from UAB in 2010 and worked in a hospital and long-term care facility. She was still paying her undergraduate loans and acquired more when she entered the Surgical Physician Assistant (SPA) program.
“My grandmother was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and I researched hospitals on careers in medicine that would allow me to help others suffering from similar conditions,” said Hudson. “I was intrigued by the Surgical Physician Assistant profession.”
Justin Williamson is not your typical senior at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He’s considered a non-traditional student because he works full-time while attending school part-time. Williamson earned an associate’s degree, but wanted to find a school that would transfer his credits and allow him to continue to work full-time.
“UAB was a natural fit, and the School of Health Professions reached out to me and helped me get on track with my educational goals,” said Williamson.