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November 2016 - School of Health Professions
National Alumni Society Member

Madison IIName: Dr. Vivian Yvonne Madison

Degree(s) and Graduation Year(s): BS Occupational Therapy - 1973, Master of Arts in Education - 1977, Master of Science in Criminal Justice - 1986

Hometown: Columbiana, AL

Current town: Birmingham, AL

Current employer and job: JLT Therapeutic Services, Inc., President

What is your favorite UAB memory? Being in the charter chapter of the Iota Lambda Chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. is at the top of my list and also being a part of other historic events at UAB.

How has UAB impacted your life? I received an excellent education at UAB. I feel UAB encourages its students to be agents of change and to pursue opportunities in creative and professional ways. With this in mind, I have worked in various agencies, developed programs, sat on community boards, written professional articles, presented at state and national conferences, and started my own business.

What made you choose your current profession? I have always been interested in science, math, and mental health. While in high school, I received college catalogs to assist me in determining where to send college applications. In one of these catalogs was a description of Occupational Therapy. I had not heard of the field; however, it sounded very intersting. I knew this field met all of my criteria and would afford me the opportunity to grow as a professional. I have never regretted my decision.

What lessons have your professional life taught you? The most important lesson is that life can be fragile and that people sometimes need assistance when navigating the ups and downs of their lives.

What would you do if you were given more time in each day? Write more books for children and volunteer.

If you could have three wishes, what would they be? To revisit special life moments, write and produce a movie that positively impacts the lives of others, and witness the cures of some chronic medical conditions.

If you could go back to any age, which age would it be and why? I would go back to my high school graduation, because this is when the next stage in my life started.

What natural gift would you most like to possess? The ability to compose music.

What trait(s) do you most value in your friends? Honesty and compassion.

Who would you want to portray you in a film about your life and why? Although now deceased, Lena Horne, because she was a versatile actress.

What is your motto? "To thine own self be true"

What is something you are proud of and why? I am proud of starting my own business, because this was one of my dreams.

What things do you not like to do? I don't like to wait in backed-up traffic.

Take a look back at previous National Alumni Society Minutes with a Member segments by selecting the month below:

October 2016 - School of Engineering

Name: Tequila Smith

Degree(s) and Graduation Year(s): BS in Mechanical Engineering 1999 and MBA in 2003

Hometown: Tuscaloosa, AL

Current town: Trussville, AL

Current employer and job: Southern Company, Renewable Energy O&M Manager

What is your favorite UAB memory? Becoming a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

How has UAB impacted your life? My time at UAB resulted in 20 plus years of friendship with some pretty awesome people.

What made you choose your current profession? I was a good math and science student and I did not want to go into the medical field. Engineering was the next best option for me.

What lessons has your professional life taught you?
1) Do not make decisions when you are emotional.
2) Do not take business decisions personally.
3) Make time to mentor others.

What would you do if you were given more time in each day? Spend time with Mark Sr, and our children MaKayla - 14, and MJ -11.

What invention have you seen in your lifetime that you believe has been the most important? Definitely the iPhone!!!!

If you could have three wishes, what would they be?
1) The ability to spend more time with my grandparents
2) To invent Google or Facebook
3) Three more wishes

If you could go back to any age, which age would it be and why? 10; because my grandfather was alive then and he was my best friend.

If you had the power to solve one, and only one, problem in the world…what would it be and why? Free education for every child in the world

What natural gift would you most like to possess? Dream Interpretation

What trait(s) do you most value in your friends? My friends are nonjudgmental, loyal and forgiving

Who would you want to portray you in a film about your life and why? Gabrielle Union; because she is funny on and off the big screen. I love her energy.

What is your motto? Live, Love, Laugh

What is the best piece of advice you ever received? “Do what is right. Treat people right.”

If you could start a charity or non-profit organization, what would it be and why? I am currently a member of the Imogene Baswell Society, which provides funding for female engineering students, but I would like to start a non-profit that focuses on increasing the following values and skills in at-risk middle school girls: self-confidence, dignity, charity, communication and leadership.  There would be a strong emphasis on education in STEM fields.

What is something you are proud of and why? I am most proud of my children because they are God-loving, loyal and kind.

What is the last book you read? Sparkly Green Earrings: Catching the Light at Every Turn

What things do you not like to do? I do not like driving.

September 2016 - School of Public Health

Alex Ream NASName: Alex Ream

Degree(s) and Graduation Year(s): MPH in Environmental Health Sciences (2015)

Hometown: Millbrook, AL

Current town:  Birmingham, AL

Current employer and job:  Vulcan Materials Company

What is your favorite UAB memory?  There were many positive memories created during my UAB tenure.  The one event that stands out the most is the “Snowpocalypse” event in January 2014.  The winter weather created hazardous conditions in the Birmingham community.  The University canceled classes quickly before icy sleet advanced into the city.  Traffic was gridlocked.  I walked out of class that morning in hopes of a southern “snow day.”  However, my experiences ranged from a vehicle near-collision, a long trek in snow to get home, resting at a warm church with plenty of hot cocoa, and forming new friendships along the way.  The weather event caused a lot of grief, but the community banded together to reduce the crisis burden.  Many stories appeared shortly afterwards about strangers helping other strangers by sharing resources including transportation, food and supplies.  These stories are what make me most proud to be a part of UAB and Birmingham.

How has UAB impacted your life?  UAB provided me with the skills and confidence to seek a rewarding career in health and safety.  The educational tools and resources helped carve a path for my current and future success.  The academic facilities, students and staff created a unique and diverse environment for me to grow, develop and launch my career.

What made you choose your current profession?  I have an insatiable desire to help people by installing and/or maintaining management systems in the workplace geared towards risk reduction in behaviors, processes and equipment that return employees home to their families in the same, if not better, condition prior to their work shift.

What lessons has your professional life taught you?  I’ve learned valuable results don’t happen overnight.  You don’t have monthly examinations that grade your level of success at work compared to school.  So time management and relationships are vital to my success.  Thus, managing my time tackling delicate situations or tough projects is important. I attempt to provide well constructed solutions to arising problems in the workplace by being respectful of my peers and approachable.  Sometimes finding an answer takes longer than a few minutes.  An “I’ll get back to you,” or “let me sleep on it” is sufficient in most cases.  I’m learning valuable lessons on how to proportionately spend quality time at work and build relationships professionally.

What historical figure do you most identify with and why? I’d love to team up with Bernardo Ramazzini who’s known as the “father of industrial hygiene.”  Ramazzini was a Italian physicist in the 1600s who first linked occupational exposures to chronic illnesses and disease, thus creating a need for industrial hygienists.  He identified a relationship between hazards such as dusts, chemicals, heavy metals and ergonomic risk factors to poor health.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received?   A close friend once mentioned to me that, “at the end of the day, your personal accomplishments and wealth are meaningless.  A person’s heaviest weighted attribute is their character.  One day when you’re gone, you will be remembered by not what you’ve done, but how you made people feel.”  I’ve taken that to heart in my personal and professional life.

August 2016 - School of Nursing

BeswickName: Melinda Duke Beswick

Degree(s) and Graduation Year(s): BSN 1975; MSN 1976

Hometown: Enterprise, AL

Current town:  Manhattan Beach, CA

Current employer and job:  Retired since July 2011

What is your favorite UAB memory?  In 1981, I was teaching Maternal Child Nursing in the undergraduate nursing program at UAB.  I was fortunate to be selected as “Favorite Faculty” during one of the Academic quarters.  The recognition was very special to me as I was still learning what it takes to be a worthy educator.  I had much more to learn after the recognition, but having these students choose me as their favorite faculty gave me hope that I could continue to improve and contribute to their and others’ nursing education.

How has UAB impacted your life?  I credit my education at UAB as preparing me for a career in healthcare that surpassed any expectations I had when I received my degrees. I would never trade the years that I spent as a bedside nurse, but I have also been fortunate to enjoy positions in nursing leadership and healthcare and hospital administration.  The leadership positions would not have been possible without the UAB BSN and MSN.  On a personal note, I probably would not have met my husband had it not been for UAB as he and I met on the indoor running track in the then new UAB gymnasium!

What made you choose your current profession?  My profession actually chose me.  I had never aspired for a nursing career, but I received a full scholarship from the Grady Memorial Hospital School of Nursing when I graduated from high school in 1963.  My parents weren’t wealthy and I knew it would be difficult, if not impossible for me to go to a university.  Fortunately for me, I loved nursing from day 1!!!  Thus, I began my nursing profession as a diploma graduate and I was then fortunate to be working at University Hospital in Birmingham, AL, where I learned about the UABSON and decided to pursue my BSN and MSN degrees.

What lessons has your professional life taught you?  I have learned humility first and foremost.  As a newly graduated RN, I quickly learned that I was never in a position where I knew everything about any particular issue or situation.  There was and continues to be always more to learn, just as there are multiple ways to approach and resolve a problem.  I have learned that you can lead only if you are willing to put yourself in the shoes of those you aspire to lead.  I have learned to always strive to be better at whatever I do.  I hope I have learned to understand and respect those who are different from me. 

What invention have you seen in your lifetime that you believe has been the most important?  When I think back to the myriad of inventions that I have seen in my lifetime, it is truly difficult to choose only one.  If I consider only my bedside profession as a labor and delivery nurse, the most important would be the fetal monitor.  But if I consider the invention that seems to have played the most important or ubiquitous part in the life of all, it has to be the cell phone and the personal computer that preceded it.

If you could have three wishes, what would they be?  As trite as it may sound, I would begin with wishing for a world free of strife and characterized by peace and plenty for all.  A second wish would be for our world leaders to get serious about methods to address global warming before it is too late.  My third wish would be that my 9 nieces and nephews will all be healthy, happy and successful individuals, as they live long and beneficial lives!

If you could go back to any age, which age would it be and why?  I would go back to my 30’s.  During that time I was enjoying career advancement.  I could do a much better job knowing what I know now versus what I knew then.  I would be a nicer person, more patient with others who might not be as quick as I thought they should be.  I would make more time to spend with family and friends and I would make sure that I didn’t lose contact with friends as life choices took us in different directions.

If you had the power to solve one, and only one, problem in the world…what would it be and why?  I would want to find a way to resolve the racial divide that continues to exist in our country, a divide that seemed to be heading toward healing a short few years ago, but now seems to be more an open wound than a healing injury.  As some of our politicians say time and time again, we truly are better together than we are apart, but we can’t seem to figure out how to be together.  A mechanism for open and honest dialogue has to be found at all levels in our population and among all people, coupled with a legitimate and pervasive desire to truly listen to one another while working toward necessary compromise.

What trait(s) do you most value in your friends?  Honesty, loyalty, humor, compassion, and tolerance head the list.

Who would you want to portray you in a film about your life and why?  Julia Roberts because she is so beautiful and is a fabulous actress…no other reasons.

What is your motto? Try to make the most of every day, enjoying the moment!

What is the best piece of advice you ever received?  When I has the CNO of a large inner city hospital, my CEO told me that he was pursuing a promotion within the corporate structure, leaving his CEO position open.  He challenged me to apply for his position.  He told me that I had to earn the position on my own, convincing the Board and the medical staff that I would be the right choice.  He said if I didn’t pursue the position, I would quite simply end up “training” the individual who would be the next CEO.  I accepted his challenge and was selected by the Board and the medical staff to be his successor.  I have tried to pass along this particular advice to those whom I have had the privilege to teach and/or mentor, e.g. accept every challenge presented, especially when you have to stretch your abilities beyond what you thought you could do.  You will rise to the occasion or you will learn more that will enable you to succeed the next time.

What 3 items would you take to a deserted island other than food and water?  I don’t know that I can keep the list to only 3 items if people are to be included.  I would want my husband and my brother and his entire family…a lot of people!  As for inanimate objects, I would have to have my Kindle (lots of books), a computer so I could stay in touch with the rest of the world, and an ocean going boat so I could leave the island when I tired of it.  Bottom line, I wouldn’t do well on a deserted island no matter what 3 items I had with me.  Seriously, I suppose the best 3 items if I had no choice would be a knife, a tent and a book about how to survive on a deserted island!  

July 2016 - Honors College

Jones WEBName: Ashley M. Jones

Degree and Graduation Year: BA in English, Creative Writing Concentration, Spanish Minor - 2012

Hometown: Birmingham, Alabama

Current town: Birmingham, Alabama

Current employer and job: Alabama School of Fine Arts, Creative Writing Faculty Member

What is your favorite UAB memory? I had a lot of great moments at UAB, and it’s hard to pinpoint one as my absolute favorite. So I’ll give you two. First one: Every year, the University Honors Program, of which I was a part, put together a float and building decorations as a part of UAB’s Homecoming celebration. I was on the committee, and I remember spending countless hours after school creating a huge Blaze poster, using chicken wire to create some sort of green and gold apparatus, and even waking up early to tie green and gold streamers all over the Spencer Honors House. We also got to ride in the Homecoming Parade, which was absolutely fantastic! Throwing candy to cheering Blazer fans, laughing with my classmates, and trying not to fall off the back of the truck was so much fun, and it was a great way to show our Blazer pride! Another one that definitely stands out is when I spoke at my commencement ceremony. I was honored to have been chosen, and I was proud to represent my family, my department, and my graduating class. I felt like my four years at UAB had truly culminated in something magical as I looked out over the crowd at Bartow Arena.

How has UAB impacted your life? UAB has impacted me significantly in my personal and professional life. Personally, I learned how to be a functioning adult while I was at UAB, whether it was braving the dorms and the prospect of cooking my own meals, managing my own money, or powerwalking across the Green in any weather to get to class on time. I met friends and colleagues who supported me as I grew and developed, and I learned what kind of citizen I wanted to be. I learned that I wanted to be hard-working and useful to my community, and I’ve continued living by that philosophy since graduating UAB. Professionally, I was able to develop career skills that I still use today—my English/Creative Writing degree is put to work every single day. The education I received at UAB built upon the exemplary education I received in high school, and it propelled me onward to graduate school and now to my career.

What made you choose your current profession? I’ve always been a writer—I have been writing stories and poems since I was seven years old. I always knew that would be a part of my career. Teaching came to me in high school, when I did creative writing outreach and team-taught summer camps. My time at UAB again found me in classrooms as an America Reads Tutor at Glen Iris Elementary and as a volunteer at Arrington Middle School in conjunction with the University Honors Program. Working with students made me feel fulfilled as a person, and it enriched me as a writer. I also taught in graduate school at my university and in the community, and that really solidified my desire to be a teacher of writing. Now, I’m teaching at my alma mater, the Alabama School of Fine Arts, and working with these talented students honestly makes me feel like I’m walking in my purpose, and that I’m making a difference in the lives of some very special young writers.

What would you do if you were given more time in each day? I would probably make more time to read the ever-growing stack of unread books on my bookshelf. People think that when you’re a writer, all you do is write and read, and that’s just not true for me.  

If you could have three wishes, what would they be? I’d wish for good poetry, love, and peace.

If you had the power to solve one, and only one, problem in the world…what would it be and why? I think the problem in the world is that people don’t know how to chill out and let others live their fullest lives. If I could solve that, and create a world full of people who respect and value the lives of others—meaning no colonization, no racism, no sexism, no classism, no ageism, no patriarchy, etc—I would be so happy, and I’m sure the rest of the world would be, too.

What natural gift would you most like to possess? I would absolutely love the ability to really sing, like Patti Labelle or Fantasia or Luther Vandross or Whitney Houston. Something about a song sung well can lift spirits and touch hearts, and although poetry can do the same things, I want to be able to do that with my voice.

What trait(s) do you most value in your friends? I value honesty and a great sense of humor—if we can’t laugh and tell each other the truth, we can’t be friends!

What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Literally anything my parents have ever told me. Sounds ridiculous, I know, but my parents are truly the greatest guiding forces in my life. One thing they always impressed upon me and my siblings is to work hard and be good to others—that advice has followed me throughout my life, and it really pays off. Working hard for what you want and being a kind, humble force in the world makes life sweeter.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why? I have a lot of places I’d like to go in the future, but the one place I really can’t wait to go to is India. I’ve always wanted to see India, and not just because I love Bollywood. I want to see a place that’s completely on the other side of the world, and whose culture is so full. But, by that same token, I’d love to visit Africa, too, and get a better sense of the place my distant ancestors called home.

What is something you are proud of and why? I’m proud of my family because they are truly the greatest gift I’ve ever been given, and they’re a constant source of support and friendship. My siblings and my parents are some of the smartest, most unique, funniest, and most artistically talented people I know, and I’m just so proud to be one of them!

What is the last book you read? I’ve been reading a lot of books this summer as I prepare for classes in the fall, so I’ll give you the last few: Fences by August Wilson, Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi,  MAUS by Art Spiegelman, American Born Chinese by Gene Yang, and MARCH Book 2 by John Lewis.

What things do you not like to do? Grading, washing dishes, and resetting my car seat after someone else has driven.

What 3 items would you take to a deserted island other than food and water? I would definitely take a radio (like, one that can communicate with other radios), a flotation device (because I can’t swim), and a machete. 

June 2016 - School of Dentistry

Mark BronskyName: Mark J. Bronsky

Degree(s) and Graduation Year(s): DMD, MS (DMD degree 1987)

Hometown: Binghamton, NY

Current town: New York, NY

Current employer and job: Bronsky Orthodontics NYC (Mark J. Bronsky, DMD, MS, P.C.)

What is your favorite UAB memory? The friends I made at UAB SOD (fellow students, staff, and faculty) and developing relationships with the professors. The close friendships I was able to develop outside of the dental school community have also been transformative and meaningful in the long-term.

How has UAB impacted your life? The SOLID dental education serves me well every day of my life. The friends I made in Alabama continue to be some of the best friends of my life.

What made you choose your current profession? Family association. My father was an orthodontist!

What lessons has your professional life taught you? In addition to learning the joys of helping my patients get healthier and live better lives, the profession has taught me how to function in the business world and the world at large.

What would you do if you were given more time in each day? I would spend more time with my family. Our boys are only a few years away from college and there never seems to be enough time with them or my wife, Jodi. I would also spend LOTS more time exercising and seeing friends/relatives, reading books, and TRAVELING!!!

What invention have you seen in your lifetime that you believe has been the most important? All things APPLE -iPhone, Laptops, iMacs, iPads, etc.

If you could have three wishes, what would they be? 1. Health and happiness for my family and friends, 2. To be able to take care of my family - to optimize their lives in every way. 3. (To quote Steve Jobs) “To make a dent in the Universe.”

If you could go back to any age, which age would it be and why? Probably 15. That is when my awareness of the world started and it would be interesting and fun to return there with the knowledge and experience that I have now.

Which historical figure do you most identify with and why? Winston Churchill - he found ways to persevere and work through monumental problems and ultimately succeed against all odds.

If you had the power to solve one, and only one, problem in the world…what would it be and why? To cure cancer of all types, specifically pancreatic cancer, as I could have kept my father alive longer and eliminated his pain and suffering.

What trait(s) do you most value in your friends? Loyalty.

What is your motto? “You can do this.”

What is the best piece of advice you ever received? “Frame every difficult situation as an opportunity to learn and grow."

If you could start a charity or non-profit organization, what would it be and why? A foundation to fight child obesity and promote healthy food awareness to patients of all ages.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why? I would go to Iceland to hike and experience the natural beauty.

What is something you are proud of and why? I am proud of our boys. They are thoughtful, respectful, and diligent young men. I am also proud of my ongoing relationships with my mom (Shirley), wife, relatives, and lifelong friends.

What is the last book you read? The Curiosity by Stephen P. Kiernan

May 2016 - School of Optometry

Geo Lake GeorgeName:  George N. Eischens

Degree and Graduation Year:   OD, 2001, Optometry, UABSO

Hometown:  I grew up on a little island in the Pacific Ocean called Adak, Alaska.  That is the closest place I have to a home town.  Otherwise, my home town is now Prattville, AL.  I have lived here for the last 21 years.

Current town:  Prattville, AL

Current employer and job:  I’m the owner of Fountain City Eyecare, a primary care optometry clinic where I am also the optometrist.  I started the practice in 2002, a year after I graduated from UABSO.  I am also a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel.  I retired in 1997 after 23 years of service, about one week after I began my optometry education at UABSO.

What is your favorite UAB memory?  Studying in the library on the upper floors.  I would go there for an hour or two in the evening to study while waiting for the traffic to subside.  The sun streamed in, the chairs were comfortable, and it was a nice quiet time to reflect on things.

How has UAB impacted your life?  Attending the UAB School of Optometry opened up a wonderful second career to me.  Fifteen years after graduation, I’m still enthusiastic about the opportunities to make a positive impact on my patients and in my community.  The faculty provided superb mentors for my profession and instilled a deep responsibility to use my professional skills to improve the medical condition of those in my community.  As a result, I’m more tuned to those needs and more proactive in seeking solutions.

What made you choose your current profession?  Multiple factors led me to optometry.  I started my college years considering dental and veterinary medicine, but never entered those fields.  As I was wrapping up my career in the Air Force, I decided I would like to pursue something more rewarding than management of computer systems and software development.  I wanted to get back to being on the front lines of resolving problems and helping people.  As a result, I kept going back to the medical fields for a second career.  The optometry field was the best match because I could practice independently and I would work directly with patients to manage their medical conditions.  In addition, it offered a variety of ways I could continue to practice into my 70’s if I desired.

What would you do if you were given more time in each day? I would spend more time with my family.  It seems that my professional life and community commitments gobble up the time I have to spend with my parents, siblings, children, and grandchildren. 

What invention have you seen in your lifetime that you believe has been the most important?  The internet.  It has enabled almost instant connectivity and collaboration between individuals and groups.  In the simplest example it helps scattered families, such as our military service families, maintain their family bonds and support for each other.  On a larger scale, it allows research groups to coordinate their study to achieve faster results.  It has truly transformed the way people interact.   

If you could go back to any age, which age would it be and why? I would go back to the late 1800s.  It was an age of rapid growth and scientific breakthroughs, but there was still a sense of mystery to our world. 

If you had the power to solve one, and only one, problem in the world…what would it be and why?  I would change the focus of individuals from a “me” orientation to a “community” or “we” orientation.  I realize we are fighting against years of evolution and survival instincts, but we can achieve much greater things as a society if we work together. 

What natural gift would you most like to possess?  I would like to be more empathetic.  If I could better understand the motivations and concerns of those around me, I would make better decisions about my own actions.

What trait(s) do you most value in your friends?  Loyalty – someone to stick with me through thick and thin.  Honesty – the ability to tell me what I need to hear and not what I want to hear.

Who would you want to portray you in a film about your life and why?  Probably Matt Damon.  I like his roles and he is not too extravagant. 

What is your motto?  “Move forward with purpose”

What is the best piece of advice you ever received?  “Concentrate on doing the job in front of you to the best of your ability and the rest will take care of itself.”  A general officer I worked for said this when discussing military career planning. 

If you could start a charity or non-profit organization, what would it be and why?  Our children need more opportunities to grow up in a safe nurturing environment.  My charity would support and expand the capabilities of organizations such as the Boy and Girl Scouts, YMCA, Big Brothers and Sisters.  With many single parent and two working parent households in our country, our children need more positive learning experiences.  The parents also need support in providing those experiences.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?  I’d like to visit Mongolia.  It is about as far away from the modern world as I can get and is a very unusual geographic region.

What is something you are proud of and why?  I am proud of the role I played coordinating the evacuation and transportation of approximately 21,000 American military personnel and their family members from the Philippines during the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991.  My team provided the communication links between the on-site Joint Task Force and the support resources elsewhere.   We arranged for Navy ships to evacuate the family members, which included my own family; and then later to evacuate the military personnel. I left the Philippines on the USS Midway one week after the primary eruption.

What is the last book you read? Start with Why by Simon Sinek.  A very enlightening discussion about how to clarify why we are in business and how to focus on the key reasons the business exists.

April 2016 - College of Arts & Sciences

James Wesley CalhounName: James Wesley "Wes" Calhoun

Degree and Graduation Year:  BS in Criminal Justice - 1987

Current employer and job: Shoe Corp (President)

What is your favorite UAB memory? Being part of a group of young men who started the colony chapter of the Theta Chi fraternity at UAB.

How has UAB impacted your life? I am proud that I have come full circle by utilizing my major in criminal justice and minor in studio art to evolve my career.

What made you choose your current profession? After over 20 years in the advertising business, wherein I owned and operated my own communications firm, my father asked me to return to the family business in 2008 and assist him in growing Shoe Corp.  

What lessons has your professional life taught you? To treat others with fairness and make a WIN-WIN situation for all.

What would you do if you were given more time in each day? Play more tennis.

If you could have three wishes, what would they be? 
1. To live a healthy, full life.
2. To have my father back on Earth.
3. To be able to put the 3rd wish in my pocket for necessity.

If you could go back to any age, which age would it be and why? I would go back to 13/14 years old when I made a transition from a small, private school to public school.  I wore my father out begging him to let me go to public school and he finally acquiesced.  I was excited and overwhelmed when I got there.  I definitely would go back to this time to be a better student.

If you had the power to solve one, and only one, problem in the world…what would it be and why? World peace - and end to the violence for our future generations.

Who would you want to portray you in a film about your life and why? Gene Wilder would be the best actor to portray this magical adventure.

What is your motto? Lead with your head, judge with your heart.  

What is the best piece of advice you ever received? The best piece of advice I received was from my father, “Don’t stop at 90%, finish the task at hand and make it 100%.”  I use this as motivation to this day.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why? Punta Arenas, Chile - a.k.a Patagonia.  This is the southernmost point of South America and one of the world’s oldest seaports.  My wife and I travel a lot.  We haven’t been there yet!

What is something you are proud of and why? I am proud to continue the family business with my sister, Michelle.  Shoe Corp stems from a single retail shoe store opened in 1950 in downtown Homewood by my grandparents and has evolved over the years from retail into one of the country’s largest suppliers of inmate footwear serving all 50 states and Canada.

Where would you go in a time machine and why? I would go back to the night in 1961 when my parents were walking 3rd Avenue North in Birmingham to catch a movie at the Alabama Theater.  My father heard his unit called to report to duty the next morning on the handheld radio he was carrying.  He and my mother then decided to skip the movie and go to my grandparents house to let them know he was leaving for France in the morning AND that he and my mother were already married.  I would love to go back to that time to see all that go down first hand.

What 3 items would you take to a deserted island other than food and water?
1. Bug spray
2. Sunscreen
3. Commercial-grade spot light

March 2016 - Collat School of Business

jarvisfacebookheadshotName: Jarvis Escott

Degree and Graduation Year:  Marketing - 2003

Hometown: Birmingham, AL

Current town: Birmingham, AL

Current employer and job: First Impressions Marketing Group, LLC (President)

What is your favorite UAB memory? Serving as USGA (Undergraduate Student Government Association) President.  It was definitely an eye opening experience.

How has UAB impacted your life? My years at UAB changed my life. The challenges, experiences and people I met while at UAB continue to make an impact on my life today.

What made you choose your current profession? I always tell people I started my business on “accident.” However as I look back on it now, it was meant to be, as I was in the right place at the right time.

What lessons has your professional life taught you? To always be nice and treat people right as you want to be treated. You never know who your next client or next business referral will come from.

What would you do if you were given more time in each day? Exercise!!

What invention have you seen in your lifetime that you believe has been the most important? Social Media.  Social Media has definitely changed the world in the last decade.

If you could have three wishes, what would they be? Great Health, Peice of mind and no debt.

Which historical figure do you most identify with and why? I wouldn’t say identify, but I do admire Abraham Lincoln. He had the courage to do something in times when others wouldn’t.

If you had the power to solve one, and only one, problem in the world…what would it be and why? Poverty. I would not want anyone to live in poverty.

What trait(s) do you most value in your friends? Trust and Communication.  I feel these two go hand in hand.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why? Dubai. Everyone I talk to says that place is beautiful!

What is something you are proud of and why? Starting my own business.

What is the last book you read? 48 Laws of Power

What things do you not like to do? I hate cold calling!!!

Where would you go in a time machine and why? The Biblical times.  I would love to know how they lived back then.  

What 3 items would you take to a deserted island other than food and water? Laptop, 12 pack of Coca Cola and a basketball.

February 2016 - School of Education

StewartName: Elizabeth Stewart, M.Ed, NBCT

Degree(s) and Graduation Year(s): Master of Arts in Education, Collaborative Special Education 6-12, 2009

Hometown: Montgomery, AL

Current home city/town: Homewood, AL

Current employer and job/role: Special Education Teacher at Homewood Middle School

Why did you choose UAB: I had been teaching in Homewood for a few years and decided to pursue a master’s degree in special education. Many of the teachers at my school continued their education at UAB and spoke highly of the programs in the School of Education.

What is your favorite UAB memory: Working with Camp TNT (Terrific New Technology) with Dr. Betty Nelson. The purpose of CAMP TNT was to provide an opportunity for students with disabilities to see and experience various technology resources that they would be able to carry over into everyday life.

How did UAB prepare you for life: UAB helped to give me the tools, strategies and resources that I will use throughout my career in a variety of educational settings.

Why did you want to be a teacher: I had several wonderful opportunities in high school and college that afforded me the chance to work with students with special needs. I knew early on that this was what I was meant to do.

With which celebrity or historical figure, current or past, would you most like to have dinner: I would love to have dinner with Michelle Obama. I greatly admire her work with the green school initiatives. My class is very involved with the recycling and community garden programs at my school and I love hearing and learning more about how we can educate and encourage others through this endeavor. 

Which super power would you most like to have: I had to google my options here, but after studying up on super powers I think I would go with having a “sonic scream”…this would take my teacher voice to a new level!

Who would like to see portray you in a movie/film: Jennifer Garner

What is your favorite saying or motto: “Make it Count”

What is the best piece of advice you ever received: A turtle never gets anywhere without sticking its neck out.

What is your life's "theme song": Defying Gravity from Wicked (I’m a big fan of musicals).

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why: Switzerland. I worked as a children’s ski instructor in Idaho after college and would love to ski the Swiss Alps.

What is your favorite book: The Hunger Games trilogy

How would you like to change the world: I feel that I am impacting the lives of my students with special needs and hope to do so for many years to come. The students that I work with have moderate to severe disabilities and can impact the world in so many positive ways when given the opportunity to do so. I hope that I continue to push my students to reach their highest potential and encourage our society to do the same.  

January 2016 - School of Health Professions

miltonName: Damien J. Milton

Degree(s) and Graduation Year(s): Nuclear Medicine 2012

Hometown: Atlanta, GA

Current town: Montgomery, AL

Current employer and job: Mergence Healthcare/Nuclear Medicine Team Leader

How has UAB impacted your life? UAB has opened many doors during my career and serves as a beacon of light for the healthcare arena. UAB has taught me that hard work and dedication will always pay off and set me aside from all others.

What made you choose your current profession? I chose my current profession because heart disease is the #1 killer among Americans and I want to be in the fight against it.

What would you do if you were given more time in each day? I would set aside some time to do more community outreach and volunteer.

What invention have you seen in your lifetime that you believe has been the most important? Siri has been a great help in my lifetime, without her I’d be lost.

If you could have three wishes, what would they be? 1. Cure cancer 2. Eradicate heart disease 3. Make the world safer for our children and future generations.

If you could go back to any age, which age would it be and why? I’d pick 15...lots of PlayStation and field trips.

Which historical figure do you most identify with and why? Christopher Columbus because I love to investigate. Curiosity is my biggest temptation. I have to know everything and if I don’t I explore until I do.

If you had the power to solve one, and only one, problem in the world…what would it be and why? If I could solve one problem it would have to be cancer. Cancer has touched and taken so many lives that an end is indeed greatly needed. The pain and suffering it causes patients and families is unreal.

What trait(s) do you most value in your friends? Honesty, loyalty and intelligence.

Who would you want to portray you in a film about your life and why? I’d like Jim Carrey to portray me. He knows when to be serious and when to be hilarious. Perfect blend of “Damien.”

What is your motto? Always take the opportunity in front of you.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Be the best until the best comes along.

If you could start a charity or non-profit organization, what would it be and why? I’d start a charity for single mothers. Single mothers really have it hard and I think if we can help them out the children will also have a greater chance for success.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why? I’d choose Scotland. I’d love to listen to bagpipes and sample Scotches.

What is something you are proud of and why? UAB has done so much for me that I could spend my entire life trying to even the score and I’d still fall short. UAB is the reason for all of my success and the lives I’ve touched. THANK YOU UAB!

What is the last book you read? The Art of War by Sun Tzu

What things do you not like to do? Going shopping with aunts, sweeping with a broom, hand-washing dishes.

Where would you go in a time machine and why? I’d go back to the 60's to attend Woodstock. Jimi Hendrix was amazing.

What 3 items would you take to a deserted island other than food and water? I’d take my iPhone, gummy worms, and the latest issue of the Nuclear Cardiology Exam Review.  Board Exams are coming up. LOL


Student Alumni Society Member

Sultan IIName: Shairoz Sultan Patel

Graduation Year: 2016

Major: Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies

Hometown: Atlanta, GA

Why did you choose to attend UAB? Steel City Pops - just kidding! To be very honest, my soon-to-be husband at that time had already committed to a training program at UAB which made Birmingham and the extraordinary UAB PA Program a top choice for me. Retrospectively, Birmingham and UAB in our destiny has been one of our greatest blessings.

Who is the best professor that you have had at UAB so far and why? Each one is fabulous and brings a unique teaching style, experiences, and knowledge, but IF I had to pick a favorite it would be Mr. Kris Maday! His enthusiasm while teaching has been so contagious that I was actually motivated to study after his classes; additionally, his love for continually expanding his own knowledge bank and being up-to-date with current medicine is not only inspiring but empowering.

How has UAB impacted your life? It has equipped me with knowledge and skills in medicine to serve my patients with utmost care. Additionally, each of the PA program faculty members has been so generous with not only their knowledge but giving students their time. I feel like I will be walking away in December with some amazing colleagues cheering us on!

What is your current state of mind? To work out or not? #dailydebate #orangetheoryfitness

What do you do for fun? Satisfy my travel bug (my goal in life is to visit all of the continents around the globe); run 5Ks; twin it up with my twin sister; pretend like I can hike strenuous trails; eat flavorful food; bug my husband to take me shopping.

Who are your heroes in real life? My parents: for a million and one reasons but these two individuals have been and continue to be my role-models through every stage of my life (glamorous or not).

If you were given more time in each day, what would you do? Eat, pray, serve

If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Power mimicry so I could copy Beyonce's dance moves without making a fool out of myself.

What are your future goals? To get as many A+ Red Apples on my desk from my students as I can in the future. I would love to join a PA program as a faculty member down the road.

What would be your ultimate dream job? It is a tie between chocolatier or an ice cream taster.

If you had a theme song, what would it be? Ain't No Mountain High Enough

What’s the best advice you ever received? "No honor is like knowledge, no belief is like modesty and patience, no attainment is like humility, no power is like forbearance, and no support is more reliable than consultation." -Hazrat Ali

Take a look back at previous Student Alumni Society Minutes with a Member segments by selecting the month below:

October 2016 - School of Engineering

Name: Joanna Fallen

Graduation Year: 2017

Major: Civil Engineering

Hometown: Prattville, Alabama

Why did you choose to attend UAB? I started playing softball when I was 4 years old and have always wanted to play in college.  When I turned 15 I was recruited by UAB.  UAB was my first softball unofficial visit, and I knew when I saw the campus that this was where I wanted to be.  I had other offers to play softball for other schools, but UAB seemed like the best fit.  I wanted to play softball while pursuing a degree in engineering, and I knew my coaches would work with me and allow me to do that here.

Who is the best professor that you have had at UAB so far and why? My favorite professor at UAB is Dr. Hosch.  He goes above and beyond what is expected of him as an instructor to ensure students really understand the material.  If you don’t understand anything in class or on the homework, he will go out of his way to teach it to you and help you during his office hours.  He doesn’t make his classes easy, he makes students work hard.  The majority of students leave at the end of the semester prepared for the next class and with great knowledge of the course he taught.  Dr. Hosch is one of the most organized professors I have ever had at UAB which is incredibly helpful to students trying to follow and learn the material.  He has great knowledge of the courses he has taught and prepares his students to be successful in the future.  

What is your favorite UAB memory? My favorite memory has been attending the UAB Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering Advisory Board Scholarship Reception.   At the reception I was able to meet and have dinner with people on the engineering advisory board who chose me as the recipient. I was so thankful for this scholarship and being able to have dinner with such influential people in the engineering world.

How has UAB impacted your life? UAB has impacted my life in more ways than I could describe.  Being a student-athlete at UAB has prepared me for my future.  Through UAB, I have received scholarships such as the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering Advisory Board Scholarship that have helped me tremendously.  I have also been able to participate in an internship with Southern Nuclear.  These are just a few ways UAB has impacted my life.

What is your current state of mind? Don’t count your days, make your days count.

What do you do for fun? I love to travel. I have been to Australia, England, and Ireland and plan to make many more trips. I also love doing anything outdoors and playing other sports. Camping, hiking, golfing, and playing basketball are some of my favorite things to do.  I also enjoy reading in my down time.

Who are your heroes in real life? My parents are my greatest heroes and role models in my life. Through 27 years of marriage, countless moves, and many obstacles they have overcome every challenge and sacrificed a lot. I would not be where I am today without them.

If you were given more time in each day, what would you do? Study and read more books.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be? The power to heal others.

What is the best invention of your lifetime and why? Google.  It saves time researching, and answers a lot of questions.

What are your future goals? My future goals are to graduate in the fall of 2017 with a bachelor’s in civil engineering.  I plan to obtain my Master’s in Business Administration and my professional engineer license.  I want to work for a big construction company as a project manager.  Then, one day I would like to start my own construction company.

What would be your ultimate dream job? To start my own construction company.

What three items would you take to a deserted island other than food and water? A boat, a water filtration device, and a satellite phone

If you had a theme song, what would it be? Trust In You by Lauren Daigle

If you had the power to solve one, and only one, problem in the world…what would it be and why? I would want to come up with the solution to cure cancer because it affects way too many people in the world and takes way too many lives.

What’s the best advice you ever received? In everything you do, do it all for the glory of God.

September 2016 - School of Public Health

Keller SASName:  Caroline Keller

Graduation Year: December 2016

Major: Masters of Public Health in Health Behavior

Hometown:  Medina, OH (Cleveland area)

Why did you choose to attend UAB?  I knew that I wanted to go to graduate school out of state in order to get a new experience. UAB’s MPH program is ranked high nationally and thus caught my attention. I read about the university, program and faculty, visited and decided to apply! 

How has UAB impacted your life?  UAB has impacted my life by introducing me to a different part of the country and extensive research experience in my area of interest.

What do you do for fun?  For fun I enjoy spending time with my dog (an adopted 4.5 year old pit bull/boxer/bulldog mix named Belle), gardening, and watching movies.

Who are your heroes in real life?  My heroes in real life include my parents and Jesus. My parents because they work hard every day to ensure I can have access to any opportunity or resource I need in life and Jesus because without my faith I wouldn’t have the strength to continue during challenging times.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?  If I could have a superpower it would be teleportation. This would enable me to go back and forth between my life in Birmingham and my friends and family up north much easier. It would also make traveling to new places much more affordable!

What is the best invention of your lifetime and why?  I would have to say that the best invention during my lifetime would be the smartphone. They enable us to communicate faster than ever and allow us to have endless information at our fingertips. Although, with those benefits come drawbacks such as poor concentration, lower quality of sleep, etc. 

What are your future goals?  I hope to be admitted to a Health Psychology PhD program and to complete behavioral research relating to eating, exercise, and stress management.

What would be your ultimate dream job?  My ultimate dream job would be performing the research described above for the government, or a university/hospital network.

If you had the power to solve one, and only one, problem in the world…what would it be and why?  If I had the power to solve one world problem it would likely be war/conflict. I would choose this issue because it is often the large contributing factor to other important world problems such as starvation, mass killings, and lack of medical care.

August 2016 - School of Nursing

HuntName:  Maggie Hunt

Graduation Year: 2016

Major: MSN, Nurse Anesthesia

Hometown:  Woodstock, GA

Why did you choose to attend UAB?  I was moving to Birmingham to be with my husband and I applied to UAB because of it’s great reputation and clinical experience.

What is your favorite UAB memory?  Sitting down next to an unknown classmate at orientation the first day and she became one of my best friends in Birmingham!  She’s been a great support system. 

What is your current state of mind?  I’m focused on studying and learning as much as possible from books and during clinical before I graduate this December and start putting patients to sleep without a preceptor by my side.

What do you do for fun?  Travel, hike, find adventure

Who are your heroes in real life?  My mom

If you were given more time in each day, what would you do?  Exercise and study more!  I’d also like to cook nice meals more often. 

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?  Photographic memory

What is the best invention of your lifetime and why?  Smartphones.  It makes life so much easier!  You can look up a question immediately, download apps for just about anything your heart desires, listen to music, take amazing pictures… it’s a mini computer that fits in your pocket.

What are your future goals?  Once I start working again, my husband and I want to travel as much as possible, visit family in different parts of the US, pay off student loans, and start a family.

What would be your ultimate dream job?  I start my dream job in January as a nurse anesthetist!

What three items would you take to a deserted island other than food and water? Chapstick, a hat, and sunblock… I’m being quite literal!

If you had the power to solve one, and only one, problem in the world…what would it be and why?  Find the cure for cancer

What’s the best advice you ever received? There’s never an excuse to be unkind – my mom

July 2016 - Honors College

Lim WEBName: Rena Lim

Graduation Year: 2018

Major: Health Care Management

Hometown: Montgomery, AL

Why did you choose to attend UAB? I loved the atmosphere the first time I visited. It felt like home. UAB is the perfect balance of academics and fun in the best city.

Who is the best professor that you have had at UAB so far and why? Dr. Roger Gilchrist. He’s hilarious. The way he presents the material makes it interesting, which makes it easier to learn.

What is your favorite UAB memory? The Gurney Derby. It was exhilarating. I used to run races when I was in high school but the adrenaline rush at the start of the Gurney Derby is unparalleled to any other experience I’ve ever had.

How has UAB impacted your life? UAB has given me opportunities I never thought were possible. I’ve met friends that have become like family in a short period of time. As a TrailBlazer, I have a chance to change a prospective student’s life while showing off the university I have so much love for.

What is your current state of mind? Sleepy

What do you do for fun? Using hashtags while speaking and binge watching Netflix while eating chips!

Who are your heroes in real life? My Honors College advisor is a real life superhero. She takes every opportunity to get to know each student in the Honors College despite having over a thousand of us. She does whatever it takes to make sure that her students are successful. When I wanted to go to nursing school but found out I couldn’t because I had too many credit hours, she fought for me and made sure that I could apply.

If you were given more time in each day, what would you do? I would find time to paint and do some crafty things.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be? To have a strong willpower

What is the best invention of your lifetime and why? Netflix, because what else would I do in between classes?

What are your future goals? I hope to attend grad school at UAB for my MSHA or MPH. After that, I want to eventually run a hospital.

What would be your ultimate dream job? Hosting the Today Show, with Hoda Kotb

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? At the moment, I would switch places with any student participating in the Disney College Program. It seems like such a great opportunity!

What three items would you take to a deserted island other than food and water? A floppy hat, my swimsuit and a book

If you had a theme song, what would it be? “Locked Out of Heaven” – Bruno Mars

If you had the power to solve one, and only one, problem in the world…what would it be and why? Finding funding for furthering education

What’s the best advice you ever received? “Wake. Pray. Slay” 

June 2016 - School of Dentistry

Morgan BlalockName: Morgan Blalock Taylor

Graduation Year(s): 2014, 2018

Major(s): Biology, Dentistry

Hometown: Athens, AL

Why did you choose to attend UAB? UAB is always growing, always changing. The first thing I noticed about UAB is its push for research and innovation. That was both exciting and motivating for me. There is no excuse to ever be static or bored here.

Who is the best professor that you have had at UAB so far and why? Dr. Thane Wibbels. Within five minutes of meeting Dr. Wibbels, it’s clear that he is passionate about what he does. He is so excited to lecture you at 8:00 in the morning, that you can’t help but be excited to go to class and chime in.

What is your favorite UAB memory? We had a snow storm in January of my junior year. Classes were cancelled and everyone was outside all day playing in the snow. We had so much fun!

How has UAB impacted your life? UAB has given me the confidence, capability, and the opportunity to pursue my lifelong dreams. I am grateful for the challenging undergraduate classes and wonderful teachers who made the transition to professional school so much easier.

What is your current state of mind? Hanging on until summer break!

Who are your heroes in real life? My parents and my husband.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Ability to converse with animals.

What is the best invention of your lifetime and why? Whitening strips. I’ll never kick my tea habit!

What are your future goals? Make a difference in others’ lives while practicing dentistry, host a family Thanksgiving or Christmas, develop a green thumb.

What would be your ultimate dream job? Dentist!

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? Any of the twelve disciples.

What three items would you take to a deserted island other than food and water? A historical fiction novel, camera, and a toothbrush.

If you had a theme song, what would it be? Beyonce’s “I Was Here”

If you had the power to solve one, and only one, problem in the world…what would it be and why? I’d put an end to all child abuse and domestic violence. Our children are our hope for the future. 

What’s the best advice you ever received? My parents have always taught me I can be anything or anybody I want. Don’t settle and never give up. Also if you’re going to do something, do the best you can. If you’re not going to do your best, don’t waste your time or anyone else’s. 

May 2016 - School of Optometry

Lindsey GaskillName: Lindsey Gaskill 

Graduation Year: 2017

Major: Doctor of Optometry

Hometown: Chapel Hill, TN

Why did you choose to attend UAB? I wanted to stay in the Southern region, and I knew that UAB School of Optometry had a great reputation among the professional community.

Who is the best professor that you have had at UAB so far and why? Dr. Tammy Than has been such a positive inspiration to me. She is so involved with her students and truly wants each and every one of them to be great. She puts in so much extra time and effort to make sure that each student has the opportunity to succeed. She has a powerful presence not only in the classroom, but also with involvement in the AAO. She is strong, disciplined, determined; she is my professional role model.

What is your favorite UAB memory? I don’t think I can choose one. The past 3 years have been the hardest years academically, but I am proud to say that I have had an amazing group of people to share the entire experience with.  My classmates and I have grown so close over the past few years and I can’t imagine getting through this journey without the UABSO Class of 2017.

How has UAB impacted your life? It has totally changed it! When I first started, I was just 21 years old. Within the past 3 years I have seen myself transform into a totally different person. I have learned a great deal of self-discipline and have come to realize that we are capable of much more than we sometimes give ourselves credit for. Without the hard work and dedication that optometry school has demanded, I don’t think that I would have the same confidence to reach my goals.

What is your current state of mind? Excited! I’m one year away from graduation and looking forward to all of the opportunities ahead of me!

What do you do for fun? Read; isn’t it sad that a student likes to read in her spare time? But after spending hours looking at textbooks and PowerPoints, it’s really nice to get lost in another world for a little while. I also like to spend time outdoors, whether it’s hanging out by the pool, going for a hike, picnicking, or just going for a walk, it’s nice to feel the sun and get some fresh air.

Who are your heroes in real life? My hero is my fiancé, Ja. He came into my life not long before starting optometry school and the timing couldn’t have been more awkward or more perfect. He has been my motivation and my backbone. Within the past few years, Ja has saved me from myself by bringing laughter and peace into my life when all I could find was stress, anxiety, and worry; this is why he is my hero.

If you were given more time in each day, what would you do? Spend time laughing. I tend to get caught up in the stresses of everyday life. If I had more time, I would take it doing things that make me smile.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be? I would choose flight.

What is the best invention of your lifetime and why? Google Maps … without it I’d probably be lost right now.

What are your future goals? My future goals include moving back to Tennessee, marrying my fiancé, working as an optometrist, starting a family, and eventually owning my own practice.

What would be your ultimate dream job? A musician; I was never good enough at French horn though!

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? I would trade places with someone much less fortunate than myself. I would hope this would give me a better perspective on all the things I have to be grateful for and how lucky I am. Then, I could be more satisfied with the rest of my life, rather than happy for just 1 week.

What three items would you take to a deserted island other than food and water? I would take a hammock, flint, and the biggest book of stories I could find.

If you had the power to solve one, and only one, problem in the world…what would it be and why? World peace…I know that sounds like such a beauty pageant answer, but it’s truly what I would want. There are so many issues in the world that could be avoided if people were more tolerant and understanding of one another.

What’s the best advice you ever received? When I was told by an instructor that I was capable of more than I believed, that I had set my goals too low. This was a huge turning point in my life, and this conversation caused me to make major changes in my future plans and goals and is the reason I am now at UABSO.

April 2016 - College of Arts & Sciences

Jignasha PatelName: Jignasha Patel

Graduation Year: 2018

Major: Biology

Hometown: Dadeville, AL

Why did you choose to attend UAB? UAB had the challenging curriculum I was looking for and opportunities I never received before.

Who is the best professor you have had at UAB so far and why? Dr. Raut in the Biology Department is one of the best professors at UAB. She teaches biology in a way that if you are not interested in biology, which I could not imagine, she relates it to each person and how it relates to that person and their lives. She also cares a great deal about her students and how they do.

What is your favorite UAB memory? My first visit to the campus is my favorite memory of UAB. From the first step I made on campus, I knew I felt comfortable here. Walking around the campus I could see myself shuffling to class.  Stepping into the dorms I remember planning how I wanted my room to look, and by the end of the visit I knew this is where I belonged.

How has UAB impacted your life? I never thought I would be able to strive for my dream and have so much support and opportunity; UAB has given me both. Because of the great people I have met through classes, organizations, events, and my family, I have a support system behind me that I thought I would never have! With that support and the endless opportunities UAB has given me, UAB has changed my life for the better in so many ways.

What do you do for fun? I love reading novels and watching old movies.

Who are your heroes in real life? I know people say this all the time, but my parents are my heroes. They have been through so much and have never wavered. They have always kept me happy and never let me settle for less than I deserve. And even when I made decisions they did not agree with, they are there for me when I need them.

If you were given more time in each day, what would you do? If given more time in the day I would volunteer at Children’s and maybe fit in a couple of chapters of a great book.

What is the best invention of your lifetime and why? While I believe people my age, including me, have become too dependent on our technology, I think the best invention of my lifetime is smartphones. Smartphones of any type allow for easy access to basically every part of our lives. Whether it is staying in touch with family, researching for a lab report, or streaming a movie on Netflix, smartphones are a game changer in my lifetime.

What are your future goals? My future goals professionally involve volunteering with children and animals in hospitals and animal shelters. My future life goals include travelling to places like Honduras and Spain, becoming more independent, and being a more caring and aware individual.

What would be your ultimate dream job? My ultimate dream job is to become a primary care pediatrician.

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? Since I was young, I always had a crazy dream about being a spy. I once read a book series where the main character, Cameron Morgan, went to a spy school and became a spy.  She would be the person I would love to trade places with.

What three items would you take to a deserted island other than food and water? My Polaroid camera, a volleyball and my Ganesha idol.

If you had the power to solve one, and only one, problem in the world…what would it be and why? If I had the power to solve one problem in the world it would be the need to find a sustainable, renewable resource that is multi-versatile. I feel like it is important for everyone to take care of the environment and preserve it for future generations. Also, we would not have to fight over where to drill for oil.

What’s the best advice you ever received? Let nothing and no one stop you from achieving your dream. 

March 2016 - Collat School of Business

Amaan HafizName: Amaan Chandiwala

Graduation Year: Spring 2017

Major: Accounting with a Minor in Finance

Hometown: Vestavia Hills, Alabama

Why did you choose to attend UAB? I transferred to UAB because I knew UAB would help me grow as a leader, and help me realize my dreams. I love how close knit it is, especially here at the CSOB.

Who is the best professor that you have had at UAB so far and why? I have had so many outstanding professors at UAB that it is impossible to choose one favorite; however, Dr. Stephanie Yates has had a profound impact on me.  She has not only helped me succeed in the classroom, but she has also been a wonderful mentor.

What is your favorite UAB memory? My favorite UAB memories are inside of the CSOB Tutor Lab where I have been fortunate enough to work with amazing people the last couple of years.  Speaking at the Collat Scholars Reception at Vestavia Country Club was a great experience (even though it was terrifying at first). This memory will always stay with me as it was the first time I ever delivered a speech in front of so many people I look up to.

How has UAB impacted your life? UAB has done a tremendous job setting me up to be successful in both my career and community.  The most instrumental concept that I have learned at UAB is that it is better to give than to receive.  This simple saying has transformed my life and my career goals.

What is your current state of mind? Excitement for what the future can bring.

What do you do for fun? Snowboarding and concerts are two of my favorite things to do.  I love exploring nature and traveling to new places.

Who are your heroes in real life? My father is my hero (even though we do not always see eye to eye).  He has shown me what it takes to be successful. He displays integrity in all that he does.  My father has always been there for me and I am extremely grateful for that.

If you were given more time in each day, what would you do? I would be outside and active with the extra time.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Teleportation, because I love to travel.

What are your future goals? I want to help others in whatever capacity that may be.  I would love to use my knowledge to make a lasting impact.  I am still not sure what that may be; however, I am confident that through exploration and dedication, I will find a career path that matches my knowledge and passions.

What would be your ultimate dream job? My ultimate dream job is to run my own non-for-profit organization.

What three items would you take to a deserted island other than food and water? Music, family picture album, and a multi-purpose pocket knife

If you had a theme song, what would it be? Float On by Modest Mouse; Things happen and I have to remind myself to stay positive.  Everyone has a problem, it is the solutions that set us apart.

If you had the power to solve one, and only one, problem in the world…what would it be and why? I am no scientist, but I believe depression is a serious mental illness that needs to be addressed.  It is especially prevalent in colleges.

What’s the best advice you ever received? “Do Good, Be Better”- Mr. Charles Collat

February 2016 - School of Education

ReevesName: Christopher Reeves

Degree(s) and Graduation Year(s): Bachelor of Science, P-12 PE Teacher Certification, 2013/Bachelor of Arts, Theatre Arts and Humanities, 2002

Hometown: Montgomery, AL

Current home city/town:  Graysville, AL

Current employer and job/role: Warrior Elementary School Physical Education Teacher

Why did you choose UAB: While receiving my Theatre degree from UAB, I learned about the great reputation of the education program, in particular the physical education program.

What is your favorite UAB memory: Dr. Sims giving out her medals after intense competitions.

How did UAB prepare you for life: UAB gave me the opportunity to gain immeasurable experiences teaching inside the gym at different schools.

Why did you want to be a teacher: I was disappointed when speaking with my son every day about what he did in his physical education class. I noted a lack of inspired teaching and realized that I could make a difference.

With which celebrity or historical figure, current or past, would you most like to have dinner: Michael Jordan

Which super power would you most like to have: Time travel

What is your best attribute: Dedication

Who would like to see portray you in a movie/film: Pharrel Williams

What is your favorite saying or motto: “We don’t use that word” (Can’t)

What is the best piece of advice you ever received: Be honest

What is your life's "theme song": Love and Happiness

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why: Italy, because my wife wants to go there.

What is your favorite book: The Outsiders

How would you like to change the world: Teachers are paid like professional athletes. 


UAB Student Alumni Society Member

StrichikMeet Tracye Strichik: First Recipient of the UAB Early Childhood Education Graduate Student Award

The UAB School of Education has selected Tracye Strichik, M.A., Ed.S., of Prattville as the first recipient of the UAB Early Childhood Education Graduate Student Award. The Award, sponsored by a generous donor to the School of Education, is awarded to candidates enrolled in or admitted to a graduate degree-granting program in Early Childhood Education at UAB.

Strichik, who directs the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education’s Office of Early Learning and Family Support, is pursuing her doctorate in early childhood education. For her dissertation, she is testing the effectiveness of a coaching and monitoring system for teachers called the Alabama Reflective Coach Model.

The former kindergarten and elementary school teacher spoke with us recently about her experiences as a doctoral student at UAB:

Why did you choose to study at UAB? I had my undergraduate degree, masters and Ed.S, in early childhood and nearly all of my books were written by Constance Kamii, Ph.D.  So, I always knew that UAB was very strong in early childhood education.

How will this scholarship enrich your education at UAB? The scholarship will give me the funds I need to complete my dissertation on measuring the effects of reflective coaching on student achievement. I’m so grateful for the support.

How did you come up with the topic for your dissertation? When I first came to my department at work, we noticed that those who were teaching pre-K needed more support than average. So we started looking at different coaching models, but none of them seemed to be a good fit. So, Dr. James Ernest, Ph.D., from UAB, who is the chairman of my [dissertation] committee and I worked together to write the Alabama Reflective Coach Model, and that’s the model our field staff uses when they work with the teachers. So, my dissertation is testing that model to see how it affects teacher-child interactions and student outcomes.”

How does it work? Under the standard model, the coach goes into the classroom and models the skills they want the teacher to develop. Then they watch the teacher teach the lesson. Under the new model, the teachers can watch themselves on video or review the coach’s notes so they can reflect on their own observations and come up with his or her own goals for improvement.

In what way has your experience in the doctoral program enhanced your career? My research here informs the decisions that I make in this job right now. Also, the relationships that I’ve formed with the people not just in the School of Education, but also in the UAB School of Public Health have just been amazing.

After you complete the doctoral program this spring, what’s next for you? I really don’t know. I love the job that I’m doing now. I think the degree will open up doors in the future, but I’m extremely happy where I am now.

Scholarships: A Note of Thanks

Through your generous donations, the UAB School of Education is able to provide scholarships to deserving students who are destined for careers as P-16 educators, coaches, administrators, counselors, community health professionals, and researchers. We thank you for your support. Your gifts are making a difference!

January 2016 - School of Health Professions

Rosa Lee Aderhold preferredName: Rosa Lee Aderhold

Graduation Year: 2016

Major: Health Care Management Pre- Professional Occupational Therapy

Hometown: Hayden, AL

Why did you choose to attend UAB? I chose UAB because I wanted a school that was medically innovative and offered research for undergraduate students. I wanted somewhere I could feel at home while receiving a world class education. I felt like UAB offered exactly that.

Who is the best professor that you have had at UAB so far and why? My best professor would have to be Dr. Paustian because she is honest enough to tell you how it really is. Her criticism is tough, but I know it will only benefit my future. She really cares about her students and wants to see them succeed.

What is your favorite UAB memory? My favorite UAB memory would have to be my involvement in UAB Trail Blazers (student tour guide). This student organization has given me the opportunity to meet some wonderful students and faculty, and most importantly share my love of UAB.

How has UAB impacted your life? UAB has brought me some wonderful friends and these relationships have truly impacted my life. These friendships have exposed me to different cultures and opinions, which I feel has made a more rounded person.

What is your current state of mind? Optimistic. I am really excited about my future, especially as my senior year comes to a close. I am very thankful for the opportunities I have had in my undergraduate career and I hope to continue my education in Occupational Therapy school. 

What do you do for fun? I really like to read and craft, especially paint. In fact, I hand paint most of my Christmas and birthday cards.

Who are your heroes in real life? Our nation’s military, I feel we take them for granted every day, those who are protecting our country. I feel they deserve a lot of credit for all they do, especially all they sacrifice, it is extremely selfless and heroic. 

If you were given more time in each day, what would you do? Slow down, I feel like I am constantly going in my attempt to be more productive. I would like to slow down and truly enjoy the little things in life more.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be? I would be able tell the future. I tend to worry about things and while I am getting better it would be nice to be able to look into the future and know for certain I had nothing to worry about. 

What are your future goals? I plan to graduate in August with my Bachelor’s in Health Care Management and hopefully begin graduate school to pursue a career in Occupational Therapy.

What would be your ultimate dream job? My ultimate dream job would to be an Occupational Therapist in a position where I could use my Health Care Management background to help operate a rehab unit or facility.

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? If I could trade places with anyone, I would trade places with a man from the Bible named Solomon. He was the wisest man who ever lived. I feel wisdom is acquired over time and since I am only 22 I feel like I have a lot to learn. Wisdom is a trait not a lot of people really desire to have, but I feel it is just their lack of wisdom for not wanting it. 

What three items would you take to a deserted island other than food and water?

  1. A cell phone, to call for help  - hopefully I would have service.
  2. A volleyball, so I could make my own Wilson if the whole cell phone thing didn’t work.
  3. A lighter. I honestly know I am not coordinated enough to rub two sticks together to make fire. 

If you had a theme song, what would it be? I really struggled with this one because I couldn’t really think of just one song. If I had to choose I would go with "Don’t Worry Be Happy" by Bobby McFerrin. I feel too many people, myself included, sometimes get caught up in a smallest mishaps and forget that life honestly is too short to be upset. 

If you had the power to solve one, and only one, problem in the world…what would it be and why? Terrorism, this issue seems to affect how everyone live their everyday lives. People are afraid to go about their day to day routine, not knowing if there is a terrorist. I feel life can already be hard enough, we shouldn’t have to worry about a group of people trying to kill us.   

What’s the best advice you ever received? I know it was a while back, but when I was in high school, my basketball coach, Coach Simmons, told me, “Pursue excellence in every aspect of your life”. It has always been a reminder that despite the situation I needed to always give my very best. If I have a 98 in a class, I need to push myself to have a 99. When I think about only giving partial effort I don’t because while it may not be important to me, it is to someone else. I feel work ethic is a direct reflection of a person’s character and I want others to know, despite the circumstances, I will always give my full effort.