The "Meet Your Student Leaders" series provides graduate students and postdoctoral fellows an opportunity to get to know the students who run the various graduate student organizations at UAB.

Samual Smith headshot.

Q: What is your name, age and program of study?

A: “Samuel Smith, doctoral student in Graduate Biomedical Sciences, BSSB theme.”

Q: What is your role within the organization?

A: “BSSB theme representative and Fall event subcommittee.”

Q: What responsibilities does that role entail?

A: “Attending GBSO meetings and contributing to event planning/execution.”

Q: How much time do you dedicate to the organization?

A: “Just a few hours a month.”

Q: How are you benefitting from this leadership position? How will it help you achieve your future career goals? What are you learning from this role?

A: “Being involved in GBSO allows me to have a voice in my graduate education experience. I’m passionate about helping shape this program into one that provides better training opportunities for myself and fellow students – GBSO provides me with an avenue to do that.”

Q: Why should graduate students get involved in student organizations?

A: “As graduate students, we have to own our education. We can’t expect our unique insights to be incorporated toward improving the program if we don’t take an active role in helping shape the organizations within it.”

Q: Why should graduate students get involved in leadership positions within those student organizations?

A: “Being involved in graduate student leadership not only increases one's ability to have an impact but, perhaps more importantly, provides a powerful opportunity to hone leadership skills foundational to the eventual administration of a research lab.”

Q: How do you balance being a graduate student with the responsibilities that come from this leadership position?

A: “I’ve had to learn to set commitment boundaries and only volunteer for roles that I know I can fit within my current responsibilities. Balance is a key part of involvement.”

Q: What else do you do (member of other organizations, volunteer work, family, etc.)?

A: “Aside from GBS classes and ongoing lab projects, I make a point to regularly attend pulmonary division seminars and GCAT guest lectures. Additionally, my wife and I just bought our first house, which I am in the process of remodeling.”