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.

Vishal Sharma headshot.

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

A: “Vishal Sharma, 29 years old. I am a 3rd year PhD student in the Immunology theme of Graduate Biomedical Sciences.”

Q: What is your role within the organization?

A: “Vice President of Graduate Biomedical Student Outreach (GBSO).”

Q: What responsibilities does that role entail?

A: “The main role of the vice president of GBSO is to organize the annual GBS research symposium. Aside from organizing the event, I am responsible for ensuring that all events held through the organization runs smoothly and assist when needed.”

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

A: “The organization meets once a month. I am also responsible for sitting into each committee event, so depending on the event, the event committee can meet anywhere from biweekly to once a week.”

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 part of this leadership position, I am learning how to effectively communicate with my peers along with immersing myself in roles that teach me invaluable skills such as: public speaking, event organizing and time management. My future goal is to work for a leading research institute as a principle investigator. As such, these three skills will expose me to opportunities that will aid in my ability to run a lab effectively and allow me to become an effective leader in the future.”

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

A: “I believe that all graduate students should get involved in student organizations because of the following reasons: 1) It is a great way to get know your peers. 2) Networking is key for a successful future, and student organizations provide the opportunity for students to connect with alumni and distinguished professors. 3) Being actively involved in student organizations help the student body to know of resources and events that are available to all.”

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

A: “Being part of leadership really gives an individual the opportunity to voice the concerns of the general body to the leaders of the university. Being a student leader on campus allows one to become the liaison between the student body and the university leadership.”

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

A: “Organization is key! I write everything down on my calendar. It is vital that one is highly organized and punctual. I prefer to never be late to a meeting, that way everything in my day runs smoothly, either it be a day full of meetings or a mixture of meetings and experiments.”

Q: What else do you do?

A: “I am involved in my local church. I am a member of GCAT. I am a GBS Immunology theme representative. I am a member of the Community Affairs Committee where we strive to build positive race relationships within Birmingham.”