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University of Alabama at Birmingham graduating senior Daniel Elston has been named Daniel ElstonDaniel Elstonthe UAB Honors College’s recipient of the 2023 Dean’s Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Student. He will be acknowledged at the Honors College Medallion Ceremony and during spring commencement in a special presentation.

“To me, this means that the work I’ve done trying to make an impact on and off campus is appreciated by the community,” said Elston. “It’s encouraging to know that I’m seen as well as supported, and this award really motivates me to continue working to help those around me. It’s important that this award is given to people. Not only does it provide well-deserved recognition to those who earned it, but it also reflects the great values within the university as an institution.”

Every spring, UAB recognizes students who have won prestigious national honors, including fellowships and scholarships, university school awards, and student service awards. Schools and divisions at UAB submit names of students to be honored. Elston was selected by an Honors College selection committee due to his continued academic success, leadership involvement at UAB and in the Honors College, and mentorship for fellow students.

Throughout Elston’s undergraduate career, he has generated an impressive portfolio of leadership positions and fellowships. Elston has served as an Honors Ambassador since fall 2020 and was selected for the UAB Honors College Presidential Summer Fellowship to work on original research in summer 2021. “These experiences really developed my adaptability, time management skills, and built up my courage to reach out to people. I’ve become more extroverted and sociable as a result of serving in these roles,” said Elston. “Additionally, I feel more comfortable as a leader because of my work during these experiences. I think all these skills are transferable if not crucial to a career in medicine, and I think these activities have given me an advantage for when I enter the field.”

In addition to his honors participation, Elston served as a mentor for the Blazer Male Excellence Network (BMEN), an active member in the Roberson Alzheimer's Lab, and was a member of the UAB Bioethics Bowl team in 2021.

“Daniel is an outstanding student and is the embodiment of what the Honors College represents,” said Shannon L. Blanton, Ph.D., dean of the UAB Honors College. “He has left an indelible mark on our honors community, and has been instrumental in increasing prospective and current student engagement as an Honors Ambassador.”

Elston says the Honors College New Student Retreat is one of the fondest memories of his undergraduate years. “I met some of my best friends while on this retreat and it really helped me feel connected to UAB and the Honors College in particular,” said Elston.

Elston will graduate with High Distinguished Honors this spring with two degrees, Bachelor of Science in neuroscience and Bachelor of Arts in philosophy. After graduation, he will participate in the Fulbright U.S. Student Program as an English Teaching Assistant in the Czech Republic. This program will last for ten months. When he returns to the U.S., he will attend the UAB Heersink School of Medicine to pursue his dream of becoming a physician with an expertise in addiction.

For students who want to become more involved on campus and who aspire to receive prestigious awards in the future, Elston offers essential advice. “I encourage students to always pursue impactful work based on their passion,” said Elston. “Don’t do activities just to fill a space on a resume or for prestige. Learn how you can make a difference while having fun at the same time and doing great things will come naturally to you along with awards such as this one.”


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