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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. This series, "Link to Leadership," features Q&As with UAB's Graduate School leaders and staff and an opportunity for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to get to know your Graduate School leaders/staff on a deeper level.

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

A. "I accepted my position as program manager for MSMBS because I am a blazer through and through. I bleed green and gold and have been ever faithful and ever loyal to this school. It was my dream as an undergraduate to come back to UAB and work to help other students enjoy their time at UAB as much as I did. I have achieved that goal and my heart is full to see how this university has grown since my time here."

Q: What is your educational/career background?

A. "I earned my bachelor’s degree here at UAB in English Literature with a minor in Mass Communications in 2014. I earned my master’s degree in English Literature from my hometown university, the University of North Alabama in Florence, AL in 2018. I am finishing up my Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS) degree from the University of Alabama in the summer 2022.

I have been a teacher for almost 10 years now in some form or fashion and I have managed students and student works for almost 3 years. I love being and working with students because they really are the heart and soul of the university."

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

A. "I have only been in my role for four months, but I am extremely eager to learn and find ways to make MSMBS a great program. My specific responsibilities include admission assistance, registration assistance, programming, course work management, and just being a good friend to our MSMBS students."

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

A. "This position is nothing like what I have done in the past, but it has been the most rewarding for me. I had tears of joy when I celebrated with one of our students for successfully defending their master’s thesis. I encouraged another student to continue with a class despite numerous setbacks. I connected with such a diverse group of students, faculty, and staff to where I feel welcomed and accepted. It really is a great day to be a blazer!"

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. "My calling in life is to help others achieve their goals. This means I will do everything in my power to help our students succeed and thrive here at UAB. I will be an ally, assistant, and advocate for the students here at the graduate school and have a strict open-door policy. I encourage students to come to my office if they have issues, whether it’s academic or personal, and I will assist in any way, even if it's just making a cup of tea for you and having some good conversation."

Q: What influences have shaped you?

A. "I have numerous influences that have shaped me that I honestly cannot name them all, but I have to say that one of the influences I’ve had was my mother’s teaching ability. My mother has been an educator for over 30 years, and she is still one of the best I’ve ever seen. An English instructor, computer lab aide, and piano teacher all-in-one, my mother has taught me how best to instruct and assist others and how to keep their success in mind. I strive to be as kind, thoughtful, and encouraging as my mother daily and hope to achieve her level of greatness someday."

Q: What do you like to do for fun?

A. "I am a nerd and proud of it. I love to read, particularly murder mysteries and science fiction novels. My favorite novel is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte because of all the gothic themes and supernatural elements included in the story. I also binge watch competition shows such as America’s Got Talent, The Voice, and The Masked Singer. Lastly, I love to knit. I make scarves every winter for my friends and family because I prefer to send handmade gifts rather than store bought ones."

Q: Tell me a bit about your family.

A. "I am married to my partner Molly Ezell (She / He / They) and we have two cat furbabies, Earl Grey and Chamomile Toffee. We intend to adopt more furchildren. Our family is small, but it doesn’t lack heart."

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