Media contact: Savannah Koplon
Michael Ho, a native of Chattanooga, Tennessee, has always been inspired to pursue a career in medicine.
His father, a pediatrician, was someone Ho looked up to, which made his desire for science a natural fit. He had long been intrigued by the humanities and how literature, art and language intersected with medical science and research, but did not have any practical experience of how these two disciplines could work together.
It was not until Ho enrolled in the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s College of Arts and Sciences that he was able to merge his passions and walk the line of academically excelling in both arts and sciences.
“Attending UAB has helped me embrace my literary side, which I never really knew I had,” Ho said. “Studying French allowed me to present at various conferences nationwide as well as publish my work in the medical humanities. The Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures gave me the unique chance to truly broaden my horizons and find a new passion in exploring different cultures and artworks. With neuroscience, I was able to not only explore my research interests in chronic pain and health disparities but also move forward with a curriculum that will set me up for success post-graduation.”
Ho will graduate this spring with a Bachelor of Science degree in neuroscience and a Bachelor of Arts degree in French. He is also an Honors College ambassador in the UAB Honors College Global and Community Leadership Honors Program.
“Michael is an exceptional student with a strong drive to succeed,” said Shannon L. Blanton, Ph.D., dean of the UAB Honors College. “He has outstanding academic and leadership skills, and a passion to help others and make a difference in our world. During his time in the Honors College, he held multiple leadership positions that are central to our student recruitment and engagement.”
As an Honors College student, Ho was heavily involved in research and was one of the students sponsored to present research as part of the delegation to the 2021 National Conference on Undergraduate Research.
UAB’s impact on Ho’s love of arts and sciences
Ho credits UAB and the faculty who mentored him over his collegiate career for helping mold his passions and for encouraging him to achieve prestigious recognitions, particularly Burel Goodin, Ph.D., and Charly Verstraet, Ph.D. Ho was awarded the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Award after receiving nominations by both the neuroscience program and Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, a testament to his campus involvement, leadership and academic excellence.
“Receiving the Dean’s Award has been my biggest accomplishment at UAB so far, and to be recognized by both departments really meant a lot to me,” Ho said. “UAB faculty have mentored me in the best possible manner and encouraged me to mentor others as well. That’s something that I really feel like is special to UAB.”
Ho’s other significant honors and awards during his time as a Blazer include:
- Foreign Languages and Literatures Outstanding Student Award
- Fulbright U.S. Student Award Semi-Finalist
- 2021 Mr. UAB First-Alternate Blazer Way Award Finalist
- UAB Student Excellence Awards Student Employee of the Year
- National Alumni Society Joseph F. Volker Endowed Scholarship
- Aaron. L. Lamar, Jr. Endowed Student Leadership Scholarship
- Dr. William E. Doggett III Endowed Departmental Scholarship for Foreign Languages
“My UAB journey has been dynamic and unexpected but extremely fulfilling,” Ho said. “From being a TrailBlazer and helping make first impressions for prospective and admitted students, to being able to help guide other students academically as a teaching assistant, UAB really offers students a great deal to take advantage of.”
With commencement nearing, Ho will pursue a research fellowship abroad in Belgium during his gap year and then attend medical school in the fall of 2023, when he will live out his dream of going into medicine. In recalling his favorite memories at UAB, at the top of the list are getting to shake UAB President Ray Watts’ hand and getting a picture with him at UAB’s 50th Anniversary event, and going to Camp McDowell for a retreat with his TrailBlazer team.