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September 2018 - Collat School of Business
National Alumni Society Member

dereje online

Name: Abyot Dereje

Degrees and Graduation Years: MBA 2013, MPH 2006, BA 2003

Hometown: Birmingham, AL

Current town: Birmingham, AL

Current employer and job: I’m a physician who is getting ready to begin residency training. However, before this I had been a consultant with a treatment center that happens to be owned by a Blazer. 

What is your favorite UAB memory? Homecoming Week was my favorite memory. School spirit was high as we got ready to cheer on the Blazers at Legion Field. I also have good memories of hanging out at the Hill University Center which was the old student center. The Chick-fil-A in the cafeteria was a great place to grab lunch in between class.

How has UAB impacted your life? From a business perspective, my UAB education has given me the tools to stand toe-to-toe with any other graduate. My education was top notch, so I’m confident in my craft no matter where I go globally. From a personal perspective the friendships I made and the exposure to so much diversity has paid off tremendously.

What made you choose your current profession? I chose it because I was an Air Force medic in the past and I enjoyed helping people. Once during a deployment overseas I made a pact with a good friend that he should pursue a law career and I’ll pursue medicine after our enlistment was up. My ultimate goal was to open a small community hospital here in Alabama. I knew I needed some good business training, so I earned an MBA along the way. I hope to merge my MBA skills with medicine to accomplish this. 

What lessons has your professional life taught you? The majority of my professional life before medicine was at UAB as a staff member. I was a program coordinator and a program manager. In those roles you have to continue learning because the University is fluid and always moving. Prior to this I was in the military but military jobs are very compartmentalized. You just learn your job, do it well and that was it. Careers in academia force you to keep learning and evolve.

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? My grandmother and great-grandmother. They were both from Wilcox County, AL, the poorest county in the state located in the Black Belt. We would just sit and talk. They have both passed on, but I have so many questions to ask them that you generally don’t think to ask when you are a kid.

What song (if any) are you listening to? Anything old school. I keep a lot of old R&B in heavy rotation in my iPod. I’m a 70’s baby that grew up during the MTV era when music was still organic. I can’t digest the genetically modified music of today, it doesn’t agree with my system. I can jam to most anything Top 40, R&B, rap, jazz, rock ir pop as long as its old school and organic.

If you could have a new talent, what would you want? Flying an airplane. I want to get my private pilot’s license. I also want to work at getting better at golf.

Describe your favorite pair of shoes you own now. A Nike running shoe I recently bought.

I really wish __________ hadn’t been invented: Smart phones

Describe your day in a six word sentence: Never ending things to do list.

What do you love most about what you get to do every day? Although I enjoy medicine and business, if I had to say the thing I love most that I get to do every day it is educating people. I like educating people on their health and how to get better. Health is the new wealth. Trust me. Your health is directly tied to your ability to earn a good living. Ask anyone you know who has a chronic disease if their illness hurts their bank account. Co-pays, deductibles, medication cost can hurt you financially. If you get too ill, you may not be able to work at all. Therefore, I love to educate people on how to get healthy and stay healthy.

What’s the closest thing to you that is green? My UAB coffee mug.

Student Alumni Society Member

Boozer online

Name: John Mark Boozer

Graduation Year: 2021

Major: Finance

Hometown: Winfield, AL

Why did you choose to attend UAB? I chose to attend UAB because it offers a combination of very strong academics, wonderful programs (particularly in the Collat School of Business), top-notch faculty and staff who truly care about the individual, as well as a rare location in the business center of the state of Alabama.

Who is the best professor that you have had at UAB so far (and why)? Dr. Joshua Robinson is the most outstanding professor that I have had the pleasure of knowing both professionally and personally. Both experiences within the classroom and outside the classroom prove that Dr. Robinson is truly an outstanding professor. In the classroom, he is a wonderful teacher of economics. He is engaging, funny and truly has a passion for sharing economics with others. He easily makes economics entertaining and fun to learn about. Outside of the classroom, he is ready and willing to sacrifice his own time for every student that needs it. Whether it is talking about assistance in class or talking about personal matters, Dr. Robinson is always available and willing to meet and assist in any way he can. He is well respected and I am positive that I am not the only one of his students that feels this way toward him.

What is your favorite UAB memory? My favorite UAB memory is Blazer Welcome my freshman year in Fall 2017. I cannot pinpoint a specific event (Blazer Splash is definitely up there), but this entire period was filled with new and fun experiences. I had the opportunity to meet a countless amount of wonderful people during this time and really adjust naturally to being at college. I was truly able to become a valuable member of the UAB community, and my decision to attend UAB was solidified. As I told my mother two weeks after move-in, UAB is “Truly where I belong.”

How has UAB impacted your life? Where do I begin? I have been able to find an accepting and diverse community that allows me to be myself and express myself in my own individual ways while being around those of other backgrounds and beliefs. I have matured and had the opportunity to be exposed to professional faculty that pushes me to heights that I never imagined that I would reach during my freshman year. I have had the opportunity to lead in many individual ways, and am surrounded by people who assist and support me, no matter what “growing pains” I may encounter along the way. This is simply a small snippet into the impact that UAB has had on my life. I know for a fact that I have grown and been impacted in a strong and unique way that no other university could have done for me.

What is one of your favorite song lyrics (and who is it by)? “One day you’ll leave this world behind, So live a life you’ll remember.” The Nights, Avicii

The store I frequent the most is Church Street Coffee and Books.

Describe your day in a six word sentence. The best days are hectic days.

What word do you overuse most? “Blaze On”

The best kind of cake is  Cheesecake.

What’s the closest thing to you that is green? My shirt! I call the color “UAB Green.”

Who are the people who make your life better? Laura Tull (My academic advisor in the Business School), all of my fraternity brothers, Sarah Leonelli and Reagan Bright.

What is the best advice you ever received? “Life becomes a lot more meaningful when you realize that you’ll never get the same moment twice.” – Dad