UAB Magazine Weekly - Features on UAB Alumni
By Matt Windsor
Most patients form smaller stones that they usually can pass spontaneously, says Assimos. “Medications can be prescribed to facilitate stone passage, but patients who are not able to pass their stones may need to undergo a stone-removing procedure,” he says.
The UAB Department of Urology offers patients all forms of stone-removing treatments, including shock-wave lithotripsy, ureteroscopy, percutaneous nephrostolithotomy, laparoscopic and robotic surgery, and open surgical stone removal, Assimos says.
“The choice of treatment is based on the size, location, and composition of the stone, the anatomy of the patient’s urinary tract, the condition of the patient, and patient desires,” Assimos explains. “Fortunately, patients rarely need to undergo open surgical removal, as even those with extremely large stones can be treated effectively with a minimally invasive approach such as percutaneous nephrostolithotomy.” In this procedure, Assimos explains, small tubes are placed into the kidney through the skin; instruments are passed through the tubes and the stone material is removed.
To make an appointment, call (205) 801-8000 or (800) UAB-8816.
Alumnus Helps Start-Ups Find Success
By Charles Buchanan
Look around, right now. Could the person sitting next to you have the idea for the next Facebook or Amazon inside his or her head? Matt Wright’s mission is to unlock those ideas and help potential entrepreneurs create vibrant new companies.
After graduating from the UAB School of Business in 2001 with a finance degree, Wright worked his way up the banking ladder, working on an equity trading desk and managing a hedge fund. Eventually he founded NuVault Financial, which specializes in management consulting and investment banking. “I advise small companies on ways to grow their business through finance, efficiencies, or everyday operations,” says Wright. He also serves as associate director of the Birmingham Angel Network, an organization of business leaders who invest resources and expertise in local start-up companies.
“Globalization is here, and the only way for the United States to compete is through innovation,” Wright says. “Our goal in the Angel Network is to help these new companies on the front end, mentoring entrepreneurs who may not understand how to commercialize an idea. I tell them that starting a business and running a business are two different things. You’ve got to understand the differences in order to be successful.”
Kaleidoscope Alumni Win Pulitzer for Tornado Reporting
By Grant Martin
In the newspaper business, every deadline is a crisis.
But as the hours ticked by at the Tuscaloosa News on April 27, 2011, the paper’s staff found itself at the center of one of the worst natural disasters in the state’s history. Working with limited electricity in the wake of a massive tornado that devastated the city and surrounding communities, the News staff provided real-time updates online through Twitter as well as in-depth coverage in the next day’s newspaper. One year later, the paper was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for breaking news reporting.
Shweta Vora Gamble and Anthony Bratina, veterans of UAB’s Kaleidoscope student newspaper who both graduated in 2000, were part of the team of journalists who staffed the newsroom that day and shared in the honor.
“Winning the Pulitzer was bittersweet,” says Gamble, a former editor-in-chief of the Kaleidoscope and a design editor at the News. “The prize announcement came so close to the one-year anniversary of the storm, so it was fresh on all our minds. There was some celebration, but we also were very aware that 52 people lost their lives. When we think back on our roles, most of us just feel that we were doing what we were supposed to be doing—covering the news of the day and getting the information out to people however we could.”
Alumna in Australia Offers a Boost to U.S. Schools
By Matt Windsor
Citizen Schools, a Texas-based organization that designs and implements interventions for low-performing schools across the United States.You may think you have a killer commute, but this is ridiculous: It’s roughly 10,000 miles from Mandy Haeuser Gandin’s house in Perth, Australia, to her workplace in Texas. Luckily, the 2004 UAB graduate usually gets to phone it in—or Skype it in, to be precise. Gandin, who moved to Perth because of her husband’s job with a major American energy company, is a consultant for
This isn’t exactly how Gandin envisioned her career path. She came to UAB in 2001 as an elite synchronized swimmer from Texas and earned a spot as captain of the university’s synchronized swimming team in 2003 and 2004. She led the squad to a third-place finish at the national championship meet and won three All-American awards. Out of the pool, Gandin was a member of the University Honors Program and president of the Economics Club. She earned an economics degree with a mathematics minor in three years, graduating summa cum laude.
Instead of a career in banking or finance, however, Gandin returned to Texas to teach fourth-grade science and social studies in a low-performing elementary school. She was the first student from UAB accepted into the prestigious Teach for America (TFA) program, which recruits recent college graduates to spend two years teaching in low-income communities across the country.
It’s a tough job for a young person just beginning his or her career, but there are plenty of eager applicants. Although roughly 50,000 students apply each year, less than 15 percent are admitted. Gandin was a trailblazer; to date, 11 additional UAB students have been selected for TFA, including Ebony Hinton in 2012.
Gandin is proud of that legacy and eager to share her enthusiasm for the transformative power of education.
From UAB Student to Toy Engineer
By Caperton Gillett
Wendy Sudsinsunthorn gets paid to play. The 2007 UAB School of Engineering alumna and native of Pell City, Alabama, has applied her creative and technical skills as an intern with Harley-Davidson and in a research and development job with Birmingham-based Summit Toys. Now she has moved to the big time—and the big city—with a position in the Thomas & Friends division of Fisher-Price toys in New York City, where she works with the design, marketing, and engineering groups to manage toy projects “from concept phase to first shipment.”
You’ve worked with Harleys. You’ve built toys. And now you’re living in New York and hanging out with Thomas the Tank Engine. Question: Awesome job, or awesomest job ever?