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Embarking on the graduate school journey can be a challenging experience, but it helps if you understand the major players involved in that experience. The “Link to Leadership” series features Q&As with UAB's Graduate School leaders and an opportunity for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to get to know these leaders on a deeper level.


Q: Why did you accept this position within the Graduate School?

A: “When I was in graduate school, I noticed that many other graduate students were put into 'sink or swim' scenarios. They were expected to jump into college teaching, writing and presenting without much in the way of formal training. I accepted my current position so I could help provide support to graduate students in those areas. To help them succeed in the classroom, as writers and on the job market.”

Q: What is your background?

A: "I earned my bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies and History from the University of Montevallo. I then completed my M.A. and Ph.D. in Communication Studies at the University of Alabama. Before coming to UAB, I taught communication courses at the University of Southern Mississippi and Louisiana Tech University."

Q: How long have you been in this role? What are your specific responsibilities?

A: “I’ve worked for the Graduate School for about two and a half years. I serve as director for the Research Communication certificate program and teach courses related to academic writing and presentation skills. I also help out with the 3MT and Discoveries in the Making events.”

Q: What drew you to this particular area of work?

A: “I’ve been passionate about teaching since my first classroom experience as a graduate student. I love working with students — particularly in this position, as I get to work with students from a variety of academic backgrounds.”

Q: If you were talking with a group of incoming UAB students, what would you most want them to know about you and your hopes for their experience at the Graduate School?

A: “The Graduate School is rooting for you to succeed! And we want to provide you with whatever resources you need to be successful. The Professional Development Program, in particular, offers courses and free workshops to help you develop as a scholar, teacher, mentor and leader.”

Q: Can you talk about your own approach to teaching and how it has or has not informed your work in your current Graduate School position?

A: "I approach teaching and learning as a collaborative process between an instructor and a group of students. I like to engage students in a variety of learning methods, including discussion, class leading and activities."

Q: What influences have shaped you?

A: “I have many mentors to thank for shaping me into the teacher I’ve become. My undergraduate advisors, Dr. Sally Hardig and Dr. Ruth Truss, and my Ph.D. advisor, Dr. Jason Black, are all passionate, engaging teachers and wonderful people.”

Q: What do you like to do for fun?

A: “I love musical theatre — I direct a show every summer with Brick by Brick Arts, a local nonprofit theatre company.”

Q: Tell me a bit about your family.

A: "My dad is the founder and CEO of the American Village in Montevallo and my mom is a retired pre-school teacher. I’m fortunate to be close to my parents, as well as my brother, sister and their partners, who all live in the state."

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