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UAB students honored at the 2017 Blazer Male Excellence Network’s Undugu Male Gathering

  • March 02, 2017

Two graduating UAB seniors have received the Green Blazer award from the Blazer Male Excellence Network, or BMEN, for outstanding academic and leadership efforts.

main students bmen 0100Joshua Peeples, left, and Devin BonnerTwo University of Alabama at Birmingham students who have shown excellence in the classroom, on campus and in the community have been awarded with Green Blazers, an honor now in its second year.  

Seniors Devin Bonner and Joshua Peeples accepted their blazers Feb. 12 during the Blazer Male Excellence Network’s Undugu Male Gathering

The Green Blazer highlights members of BMEN and its Peer Mentoring Program, designed to provide academic and social support to black male students entering UAB. 

The program’s objectives include providing students with resources to enable them to achieve their educational goals, increasing retention and graduation rates by providing students with valuable information, providing mentors and mentees with the opportunity to become leaders, and enhancing the relationship between the university and its students — all through mentors.

Undugu translates to “brotherhood” in Swahili and represents the significance of the event, Bonner says. The Undugu Male Gathering event recognizes BMEN mentors, mentees, alumni and others who are involved with the program. 

Peeples became a BMEN member in his sophomore year and says he has truly enjoyed the experience. He grew up in Alabaster and acquired a passion for electrical work when he realized how his father, as an electrical technician, was able to help his community through his trade.

This spring, Peeples will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering; his ultimate goal is to obtain a Ph.D. in electrical engineering and become a professor in honor of his late father.

Bonner says BMEN has provided him with an amazing college experience at UAB and has taught him a lot about his community and himself. Bonner will graduate in the spring with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering and plans to return to UAB to receive a Master of Engineering degree in biomedical engineering with a certificate in technology commercialization and entrepreneurship.

For Bonner, being awarded the Green Blazer means his dedication to education and to the BMEN program has been recognized. Peeples says the Green Blazer is the epitome of excellence in the BMEN program.

“Everyone who is a part of the program strives for excellence, and this award is a crowning achievement,” Peeples said. “I hope receiving this reward will help me serve as a role model for those studying behind me to continue to do well and strive to be the best they can be despite any opposition they will face.”

According to Peeples and Bonner, the mentoring program has benefited each member of BMEN in various ways, whether it be their communication skills, leadership skills or professional development.

“As a BMEN mentor, I have realized the responsibility and honor of being an example for someone who looks up to you,” Peeples said. “I have also become more passionate about assisting others to be the best they can be.” He hopes his mentees can be inspired by their mentors by recognizing they can achieve success in their college and professional careers, as well as life in general, regardless of the hardships they have had to face throughout their journeys.

Bonner says the mentor program has helped him navigate through his college career. He landed a spot on the dean’s list and says he strives every semester for this achievement. He is proud to have done it as a senior majoring in biomedical engineering. As he progressed through BMEN, he was able to expand his skill set as a mentor and eventually became a lead mentor. 

Both recipients of the Green Blazer agree on the positive impact BMEN has had on their lives. From being a mentee to becoming mentors, Bonner and Peeples have grown as leaders and professionals from the Peer Mentoring Program, and they will continue to strive for excellence. 

Dean’s List Fall 2016

Devin Bonner, Devontrae Compton, Emmanuel Dean, Randall Fields, Jordan Harris, Joshua Holsey, Bobby Ijeoma, Keymani Isiadinso, Darius Johnson, Michael Lee, Michael Liptrot, Micah Malone, Andrew Spriggs, Samuel Sullivan, IV, Emmanuel Talley, Antonio Williams,

Julian Woods Jr. 

Presidential Honors Fall 2016

Calvin Colvin, Clifford Miller, Joshua Peeples, Joshua Scott, Qasim Tajuddin, Curtis Vannor 

Spring 2017 Graduates

Devin Bonner, Calvin Colvin, LaMarcus Jones, Micah Malone, Joshua Peeples, Samuel Sullivan, IV, Emmanuel Talley, Bryant Williams  

BMEN Award of Excellence

Chris Rogers

TAP Inc.

DaReef Jamison, Ph.D., assistant professor, African American Studies