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February 2018 - Honors College
National Alumni Society Member

Benton Headshot

Name: Grace Benton

Degree and Graduation Year: B.A., International Studies, Minors in Spanish and Arabic (2011)

Hometown: Mobile, Alabama

Current town: Washington, D.C.

Current employer and job: Georgetown University, researcher

What is your favorite UAB memory? My favorite UAB memories are going to the University Honors Program (UHP) movie showings. Each week, UHP would offer a differ movie, expertly curated to correspond with our readings and theme for the week, accompanied by pizza and followed by a usually cerebral discussion of the film. It felt like the quintessential college experience – complex films, intellectual discussions, and pizza.

How has UAB impacted your life? UAB has made me the professional (and student) I am today. The UHP especially was incredibly instrumental in changing my worldview, equipping me with the analytical tools to look at things carefully and critically.

What made you choose your current profession? As a researcher, I am putting my investigative and analytical tools learned at UAB to work. I am in law school because I am passionate about working on reforming the system in place for protecting people who are forced to leave their homes because of war, persecution, natural disasters, etc. This includes refugees – people who have had to flee to other countries – as well as internally displaced persons – people who have been forced to leave their homes but are still living within their countries of nationality. I want to become a lawyer in order to be a more effective advocate and to negotiate the complex world of immigration law and policy-making. 

What lessons has your professional life taught you? My professional life has taught me to be patient. There is not a lot of instant gratification in the line of work I’ve chosen, but dedication pays off over time.

If you were given the opportunity to spend 48 hours with absolutely anyone (living or dead), who would you spend it with and what would you do? I’d want to spend the two days with Ruth Bader Ginsburg, just watching her work her magic in her day-to-day life.

What song (if any) are you listening to? "A Drop of White" by Cairokee

If you could have a new talent, what would you want? I’d want to be able to dance.

Describe your favorite pair of shoes you own now: My favorite shoes are my snow boots. Growing up in Alabama, I never had a pair! Since moving to DC, I had to get some, and the novelty has not worn off yet.

I really wish Words with Friends hadn’t been invented. It is my most potent productivity downfall.

Describe your day in a six word sentence: Reading, musing, writing, all the coffee.

What do you love most about what you get to do every day?  I love variety in my work, and there is always a new challenge coming down the chute with academic research and law studies.

What’s the closest thing to you that is green? My Egyptian papyrus plants.

Student Alumni Society Member

Harlee DwyerName: Harlee Dwyer

Graduation Year: 2021

Major: Neuroscience

Hometown: Franklin, Tennessee

Why did you choose to attend UAB? I chose to attend UAB because I loved all the resources available here and wanted to be surrounded by motivated students. UAB has so many opportunities for undergraduates. It is amazing to say I was able to get involved in a research lab as a freshman. On top of this, I really loved the drive and determination all of the students had on campus to succeed academically. I knew this would be an environment that I would thrive in.

Who is the best professor that you have had at UAB so far (and why)? I have had many wonderful professors at UAB, but the best professor by far was Dr. Boggiano. She was my professor for Honors Intro to Psychology. Dr. Boggiano went over and beyond as a professor. She taught us how to work hard and what is was truly like to be held at the standards of an Honors College student. Her lectures were intellectual and informative. I really fell in love with the class because of her enthusiasm and determination she had for her students to understand the material. I am thankful I can say she was a part of my undergraduate experience, as I could not imagine a better psychology professor.

What is your favorite UAB memory? This is a hard question for me because I have so many great memories from my first semester here at UAB. One of my favorite memories would have to be the week of our homecoming, specifically the homecoming parade. It was really amazing to see the university come together as a whole to celebrate UAB and all it has to offer.

How has UAB impacted your life? It is easy for me to say that I have found my second home at UAB. Being an out-of-state student was hard, as I knew almost no one, but shortly after arriving on campus I knew this was where I was meant to be. Everyone welcomed me with open arms and I consider all of my friends and mentors here to be my second family. They have all contributed to me becoming a successful student here at UAB. I wouldn’t have had as a successful first semester as I did without the students and faculty here at UAB. They constantly push you to be the best you can be and I could not be more thankful for that.

If you were on a plane beside your favorite celebrity, what would you do? Honestly, at first, I might not say anything because I would most definitely be overwhelmed with excitement that they were sitting next to me. After coming to terms with the fact that they were actually next to me, I would probably ask for a photo and what a day in their life was like. I genuinely would just really want to get to know them for who they are.

What is one of your favorite song lyrics (and who is it by?) Anything written by John Mayer would be an acceptable answer for this question. My favorite by far is "no it won't all go the way it should, but I know the heart of life is good." This is from "The Heart of Life" by John Mayer.

The store I frequent the most is Target.

Describe your day in a six word sentence. Do all things with a smile.

What word do you overuse most? "Like" - Whenever I am explaining something or I get nervous this seems to be my go to word. I don’t even recognize how many times I actually say it until someone points it out!

The best kind of cake is ice cream cake. I am a big ice cream lover!

What’s the closest thing to you that is green? The logo on my Starbuck's cup.

Who are the people who make your life better? The people who bring love and positivity to my life are the people who make my life better. I would not be where I am today without these people constantly pushing me to be my best and allowing me to realize my potential.I am thankful to say I am surrounded by these types of people all over UAB's campus. Simply seeing a smiling face while walking on campus brightens my day and brings thoughts of positivity to me.

What is the best advice you ever received? "The only person you should try being better than is the person you were yesterday."