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National Alumni Society Member

Margie GilbertName: Margie Gaulden Gilbert

Degree(s) and Graduation Year(s): BSW with a Minor in Psychology (UAB - 1996); MSW with a Concentration in Mental Health (UA - 1998)

Hometown: Birmingham

Current town: Birmingham

Current employer and job: UAB CAS Department of Social Work – Visiting Assistant Professor

What is your favorite UAB memory? SW Professors were student-friendly and encouraged me to do my best.

How has UAB impacted your life? It changed my life. I had been a stay at home mom for over twenty years and it set the course for my becoming a Clinical Social Worker.

What made you choose your current profession? I was a Psych Major and needed a minor. I chose Social Work and knew that was my chosen professional course. For a while, I was a double major with Social Work and Psychology. My senior year, I chose Social Work as my major and had enough hours for a minor in Psychology.

What lessons has your professional life taught you? There are many at-risk populations in our community that do not get the help they need. They are the silent population without a voice we need to look for because they are overlooked.

What would you do if you were given more time in each day? I would spend more time with my five grandsons.

What invention have you seen in your lifetime that you believe has been the most important? I have been in a private practice for thirteen years and provided contract work with several non-profit agencies in the Greater Birmingham Area. I would go into the homes of my clients to provide therapy/counseling services. When I have been working with my adolescent male clients who are emotionally shut down and they begin to feel their emotions, which is the beginning of a breakthrough for the client that has been my motivation to continue as a Clinical Social Worker. Now that I am teaching at UAB, I want to be part of the process to develop new social workers to work with at-risk populations.

If you could have three wishes, what would they be? My first wish has been for UAB to develop a Master’s in Social Work with a clinical/medical focus on working with at-risk populations who have multiple layers of mental, medical and physical needs.

If you could go back to any age, which age would it be and why? I have asked myself this question many times. I would not go back to any age because it might change my present life. Everything that has touched my life has made me be the Clinical Social Worker that I am today and I wouldn’t make any changes.

Which historical figure do you most identify with and why? As a Clinical Social Worker, I identify with Jane Addams, the Pioneer of my Social Worker profession and Mother Teresa whose mission was to work with the poor that no one else would work with. These two women didn’t strive for personal gain but were focused on at-risk populations.

If you had the power to solve one, and only one, problem in the world…what would it be and why? I would want “Real Peace” that only comes from God.

What natural gift would you most like to possess? I would like to possess the natural gift of being able to sing well. I love to sing but I’m not very good at it.

Student Alumni Society Member

Marie MichenkovaName:   Marie Michenkova                        

Graduation Year: 2018

Major: Neuroscience

Hometown: Brno, Czech Republic

Why did you choose to attend UAB? As a daughter of a Czech Air Force pilot, I was lucky to spend a year of my life in Montgomery, AL, at one of the most prestigious high schools in the U.S. – Loveless Academic Magnet Program High School. Going to school with students that aimed for the best colleges around the world, I was inspired to search for the best college for me. UAB, with its urban campus, unique Undergraduate Neuroscience Program and endless opportunities was worth leaving my family, my friends and my home in Europe for several years.

Who is the best professor that you have had at UAB so far and why? Dr. Tucker was one of the first people I met at UAB. Her admirable professionalism, energy, and spirit not only introduced me to the world of research, but convinced me that this is the world I want to stay in. Her wonderful personality and her individual approach made my first weeks at UAB memorable.

What is your favorite UAB memory? Being a judge at the 2015 Central Alabama Regional Science & Engineering Fair was one of the most remarkable moments I have had at UAB. Having discussion with a 9-year-old about the effects of lemon juice on cut up fruit made me proud to be a part of such a splendid research institution as UAB. I was honored to further develop the interest in science in such young people, and was delighted to support their on-going citrus research.  Plus, watching a 4th grader with a bowtie passionately gesturing while describing the cure to all the browning fruit out there.  Priceless.

What do you do for fun? I dance!!! I am currently planning on getting a Zumba certification from the UAB Campus recreation center. Besides that, I love to lie in my hammock on the Green – BUT I do that only when I know there is absolutely nothing to study, because studying in a hammock is impossible. Not only do friends, who aren’t fortunate enough to own one, pop up from your past and demand you catch up with them right there in the hammock, but who wants to study when you can just watch with your hands behind your head and just smile at the world?

Who are your heroes in real life? My grandmother. My parents. Ben Carson.

If you were given more time in each day, what would you do? Sleep – there is never enough time to sleep.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Speaking and understanding every single language in the world. In that way I would serve as a diplomat and a peacemaker. Many conflicts and misunderstandings could be avoided and negotiation would be taken to another level.

What are your future goals? For the past couple of years, I wanted to become a military anesthesiologist, specializing in neuroscience. But, I am indeed attending a university where the options are “endless” and every week I find a new hobby or interest. It could be tying different knots on ties, making homemade scent candles, or just playing the geocaching game. That being said, although I do have a goal I would like to stick with, I am open to suggestions and if my life takes me somewhere else, I will take the chance and try something new.

What would be your ultimate dream job? I have always wanted to combine my parents’ jobs. My mom is a molecular geneticist and my dad is a Czech Air Force pilot. My dream has been to be an anesthesiologist in the military. I am aware of the fact that I just finished my first year at college and am discovering all the opportunities that are out there, but ultimately I would love to get paid for a job I love to do and that has a purpose and meaning in the life of others.

If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fiction, with whom would it be? Princess Diana.

What three items would you take to a deserted island other than food and water? Duct tape – after seeing an episode of MythBusters, I learned that such a simple thing can significantly increase the chance of survival; an army knife my dad gave me when I was little; and a huge fully functioning luxurious yacht in case duct tape and a knife failed to help.

If you had a theme song, what would it be? F.R.I.E.N.D.S! My childhood was spent watching all the episodes at least twice. I have also gone through phases in my life when I identified with every single of the characters – mainly with Monica. I, just like her, made my family put signs on all their foods in the fridge and pantry, because what didn't have a sign, was sooner or later eaten by me. They are lucky I left overseas…now my roommates have to put signs on their foods instead.

If you had the power to solve one, and only one, problem in the world…what would it be and why? If human race was to make intergalactic travelling possible and if we were to discover new alien species, we would be left with no choice but to drop all the racist, sexist, and homophobic thoughts we now may have for each other. The general quality of life would be improved as well as a health care system, education system and food distribution. Introducing extremely foreign factor into our lives would ultimately lead to unification of us as a human race.

What’s the best advice you ever received? Get involved in volunteering. In Europe, volunteering is... meh… not so big. It is a huge thing in America though and it is a huge thing at UAB too. As a part of a city, it is extremely important to give back to the community we live and study in. Furthermore, it is really important for the experience itself. I was told to get involved in volunteering to gain experience in the specific area I am interested in or with a specific organization I wish to cooperate with. In that way, later, when I get to the point I want to apply for a position that actually matters in my professional career, I will more likely get the position because my employer will either already know me and my skills as a volunteer or will see that I have appropriate qualifications from other similar organizations.