article pictureSamuria Thomasresearcher I, has worked in the Department of Radiology Preclinical Imaging Facility for five years. She has become a skilled preclinical MRI technician, in addition to other preclinical instruments offered by this institutional core. Over the last few years, Samuria has decided to continue her education journey while continuing full time work in our department. She shared some of her thoughts on the journey below in an interview.

What motivated you to decide to continue your education?

I always knew I wanted to continue my education, but other life events were made the priority for a long time. I did not see the opportunity or the time to go to school while to raising my son. My career change at UAB in 2017 gave me a choice of remaining in the same position or gaining experience in an area I had little knowledge or background. I chose research. In doing so, I was able to strive for something different for myself and my son.  

Have you felt encouragement from the department on your journey? How have they shown support for your professional growth?

A group of veteran women who worked near my area saw something in me that I did not. I am grateful to them. The Depatment of Radiology has also been an encouragement since the day I accepted my position. I have been encouraged to learn the different imaging modalities in our lab and to take classes here at UAB. I decided to align my priorities and became a student and a full-time researcher.

The department shows personal interest in the steps I take each semester. In periodic meetings with my supervisor, we discuss my expectations for school, and this encourages accountability.

How do you balance your life between work, school, and family life?

Balancing my life with school and work was a struggle in the beginning. I had to find the balance and raise my son. At first, I thought I could do everything all at once, no breaks. I eventually found my balance; communicating with my son about things needed around the house before I got home and exercising became another way to balance and clear my mind. I was very scattered with home, school and work. God and family helped me through all these types of challenges I have faced thus far.

What words of advice would you have for anyone taking the leap to continue professional growth while working full time?

My advice to anyone wanting to take a leap of faith; is to go for it. Never stop learning, especially if it is something different. There is always room for growth and new experiences.