Bowen’s ‘positive attitude and smiling face’ endear her to colleagues

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bernice bowen insideBernice BowenWhen Bernice Bowen was growing up, her dad had a phrase he’d repeat: ‘Whatever you do, do your best.”

“And that’s what I try to do,” Bowen said. “My best.”

In 14 years as an environmental specialist at UAB, Bowen’s best has endeared her to staffs on the second and fourth floor of the Zeigler Research Building, which she keeps neat and tidy — so much so that she earned the title of Employee of the Month for July.

Not only is Bowen exceptionally organized and efficient at keeping her designated areas clean, she also is a positive, patient and dependable person, colleagues say, and often exceeds her duties.

“I have always found her to be hardworking, efficient and very pleasant,” said Kristal Aaron, DrPH, clinical data manager in the Division of Infectious Diseases. “She often has noticed things that need to be attended to in offices or conference rooms and taken care of them with no special request required.”

“I’ve never heard anything more than praise for her work,” said DID Program Coordinator Gabrielle Johnson.

“I love my job and love what I do. It helps that other people care about how things look and appreciate everything I do.”

Bowen’s colleagues, who affectionately call her Ms. Bernice, are an inspiration to her, too. Though she maintains a habit of coming to work with an optimistic attitude, she says mingling with co-workers as she works helps her stay positive.

“I love my job and love what I do,” Bowen said. “It helps that other people care about how things look and appreciate everything I do. That makes me do more.”

But while Bowen says she has always “had a good mind for cleaning and keeping everything nice and tidy,” there was one aspect of starting her job at UAB 14 years ago that took her by surprise.

“When I got to UAB, I saw people cleaning the floors, and I asked a group leader, ‘Who maintains the floors?’ She said, ‘We do,” and I said to myself, ‘Lord, I won’t be here long.’”

Despite her uncertainty that she’d be able to operate the large machinery used for scrubbing and waxing floors and shampooing carpets, Bowen overcame that challenge with a bit of prayer — something she always does in a moment of discomfort.

“I always pray and ask God to help me in whatever challenge I have, to meet me there and help me do that task,” she said.

All those years of prayers and conversations with colleagues have endeared Bowen to those who work on the floors she maintains— and those co-workers to Bowen as well.

Each month, UAB recognizes an outstanding employee for their dedication, hard work and contributions to the university’s success. If you know of a great employee, you can learn how to nominate them for this recognition at

“Bernice is outgoing and pleasant and takes pride in performing her work well,” said Barbara Van Der Pol, Ph.D., associate professor in the division and director of the Infectious Disease Library. “It’s a small thing, but I arrive at 6 a.m. each day and Bernice is always the first to greet me, setting my day off on the right foot with her positive attitude and smiling face.”

“We have a good relationship,” Bowen said of the second and fourth floors of the Ziegler Research Building. “I just love them, and I always tell them that, too. And they let me know they love me and appreciate me and what I do.”