UAB Magazine Online Features
Preparing Students for a New Era in Genetic Counseling
By Gail Short
Ever since high school, Rachel Reese has wanted to be a genetic counselor. "I loved science, but I knew I didn't want to be in a lab all the time," she says. "I liked the challenge of having to be a knowledgeable health care provider and an empathetic listener who helps people make tough decisions."
Once she found her career match, Reese pursued it with a passion, majoring in biomedical science as an undergraduate while shadowing genetic counselors and working at a local crisis center.
A Field in Flux
The Memphis native knew there were no genetic counseling programs in her home state. Researching online, she heard "great things" about UAB's Genetic Counseling Program, including its interdisciplinary teaching philosophy and inclusion of career-building skills, such as courses in Spanish and phlebotomy.
The two-year program is based in the School of Health Professions and includes faculty from the School of Medicine and School of Education. Since it was launched in 2010, the program has attracted highly motivated students such as Reese from across the country, says interim director Christina Hurst, M.S., CGC. The program currently accepts six new students a year, which is comparable to class sizes of other programs across the country, Hurst says.
Job prospects are strong, Hurst adds—a fact U.S. News and World Report noted when it listed the profession among its "10 Hidden-Gem Careers for 2013 and Beyond." Medical advances are leading to an explosion of new genetic tests, along with a subsequent demand for professionals to interpret the complex results to patients—and to their physicians, who often don't have time to stay abreast of the latest advances in the field.
New Offerings in UAB's College of Arts and Sciences, 2013-2014
UAB College of Arts and Sciences are painting in burnt sienna for a hands-on lesson in Renaissance art techniques, seeking out the hidden connections among living organisms, and getting down in the weeds with three of the toughest texts in English literature.Sometimes, the best way to get to know a subject is to roll up your sleeves and get a little dirt under your nails. This fall, undergraduates in the
Learn more about these and other intriguing new course offerings—and get a preview of cool new classes scheduled to debut in spring 2014.
Italian Renaissance Art
Synopsis: Gain a deep understanding of one of the most pivotal eras in world culture.
Instructor: Noa Turel, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Art and Art History
This course takes a hands-on approach to art history, including a workshop on historic technique, on-site practice in analyzing artworks on display at the Birmingham Museum of Art, and detailed readings in primary sources. During the workshop in early October, Gary Chapman, professor of painting and drawing, taught students the art of gilding; Doug Baulos, assistant professor of drawing and bookmaking, demonstrated the use of ancient ground pigments such as burnt sienna and ultramarine blue.
Meet UAB's Class of 2017
By Matt Windsor
The fall semester always brings fresh faces to campus, but this year's UAB freshman class was one for the record books. There are 1,773 students in the Class of 2017, a 5.8 percent increase over 2012 and an all-time high for the university. The boom in baby Blazers has also pushed on-campus housing to capacity, with 69.1 percent of freshmen now living on campus—another record total. Digging into the demographics reveals increases among in-state students, out-of-state students, and international students.
There was also a gain in students from Jefferson County, due in part to a new partnership between UAB and Birmingham City Schools that encouraged students such as Angela Roper, a freshman with an interest in nursing, to stay in their hometown for higher education.
"I researched the nursing program and loved the atmosphere when I visited UAB Hospital," Roper says. She also gives high marks to the Blazing Start program, part of the UAB-Birmingham City Schools partnership, which includes dedicated advising and mentoring for incoming freshmen. "It's a great program to be part of if success is a part of your future," she says.
Roper and the rest of the Class of 2017 will see plenty of changes to campus during the next four years, including a new student center, residence hall, and health and wellness facility. But this group is looking to make some changes of its own—on campus, in Birmingham, and around the world. Meet a few of the new faces:
UAB Alumnus Revolutionizes Tuberculosis Research
By Meghan Davis
Bill Jacobs cracked one of the great problems in infectious disease research using a mathematician's heart, a molecular biologist's training, and a helpful handful of dirt.
Jacobs, a professor of immunology, microbiology, and genetics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, earned one of the top honors in American science when he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2013. He won the honor, in part, for identifying new ways to target tuberculosis, which is still one of the world's great public health threats. But Jacobs, who earned his Ph.D. in molecular cell biology at UAB in 1985, says it all might not have happened apart from a fateful letter to Birmingham.
While studying math at Edinboro State College near Erie, Pennsylvania (actress Sharon Stone was a classmate), Jacobs took a microbiology course that sparked his interest. He applied to several microbiology graduate programs, but few even bothered to answer his inquiry letters. Then Roy Curtiss, Ph.D., founder of UAB's molecular cell biology graduate program, invited him to Birmingham for an interview and tour.
"I told Roy that I didn't know much biology," Jacobs says. "And he told me, 'There is no sin in being ignorant. The sin is to remain ignorant.' I decided that from that day forward, I wasn't going to be ashamed to ask questions in seminars."
Jacobs says he still uses Curtiss's quote to encourage his own students.