Kristi Smith

Kristi Smith

UAB is not only where I went to college and where I work—it's where I met my husband and started a family.

Two weeks after graduating high school in May 2000, I began the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Summer Bridge program at UAB. At the time, it was offered through Dr. Louis Dale’s office, and around 20 other recent graduates from Alabama high schools were participating. During that summer program, I met Terry Smith Jr. I sat next to him, but I was incredibly shy at the time—never really talking to him during the entire six-week program. Terry, on the other hand, was an extreme extrovert and made friends with everyone there.

On our last day, Terry went to all the dorm rooms to say good-bye, and I was the only one still there. We exchanged phone numbers and kept in touch. He went on to the University of Alabama, and I continued at UAB. We became and remained good friends for almost four years, until we lost contact for about two years. I was in graduate school at UAB and working there as well, so my phone number and address had changed. The only thing that stayed the same was my email address.

One night, Terry had been working late and thought about me. He realized he no longer had my information and started to check through his emails. Eventually, Terry found an old email from me and decided to reach out. I responded, and we reunited the next day. About two months after reconnecting in January 2006, we started dating. We got engaged in August 2007 and married on May 10, 2008.

Since then, I have continued to work at UAB, and I have given birth to our three daughters at the UAB Women and Infants Center in 2011, 2014, and 2017. UAB is not only where I went to college and where I work—it’s where I met my husband and started a family. UAB is my home.

—Kristi Smith moved to Birmingham from Vicksburg, Mississippi, when she was 12 years old and earned her bachelor’s in psychology from UAB in 2004. She graduated from UAB again with a master’s in educational leadership in 2006 and continues to work with the university.

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