Bernice Bowen was emotionally spent after losing her job during cutbacks at the First United Methodist Child Development Center five years ago.

Bernice Bowen, an environmental services specialist in the Zeigler Research Building, is November’s Employee of the Month.
“I was kind of down,” she says. “I didn’t know what was going to happen, or what I was going to do.”But Bowen’s fortunes quickly turned. She was hired as an Environmental Services Specialist at UAB on Nov. 18, 2003, responsible for the second and fourth floors at Zeigler Research Building.

“I can’t say enough about how the people on my floors made me feel so welcomed and so loved,” Bowen says. “I forgot pretty quickly about how I lost my other job.”

Bowen has made quite an impression on her co-workers in her time at UAB as a hard-working, honest professional with a smile and a warm personality endearing to those she encounters. Bowen has been rewarded for her work as November’s Employee of the Month.

“When Bernice first came to work on the second floor of the Zeigler Research Building we all knew we had a guardian angel in our midst,” says Sharron Hagy, program coordinator in Infectious Diseases. “Bernice exemplifies how every UAB employee should perform and is an inspiring person to be around.”

Pleasant and friendly are words co-workers often associate with Bowen. They also say she is constantly in motion.

“Bernice is one of the most conscientious employees that I have encountered in my many years here at UAB,” says Ann Dillashaw, clinical trial specialist in Infectious Diseases. “When I come to work and see her smiling face in the morning it makes my day go better. If I come in and have a load she comes and unlocks my office door.

“Her work ethic and quality of work is the best. She is a friend to all of us.”

Bowen says her affable demeanor and penchant for hard work are gifts she shares with her mother, brother and sister. “Everyone in my family is outgoing, and we love to make people laugh,” Bowen says. “But I also take pride in the work I do. I take my time doing what I’ve got to do, and when I get it done I always look at it and ask if it’s good enough.”

Jane Schwebke, M.D., professor of medicine in Infectious Diseases, says Bowen is dedicated to doing her job well — even when it comes to tackling a messy desk.

“She is truly outstanding in her work and always does a great job,” Schwebke says.

“She is quick to respond to issues and goes out of her way to keep our offices clean, even trying desperately to keep my desk clean.”

Her attention to detail often earns Bowen many compliments from her co-workers. But in the end, they always come back to the fact that she does her job with a cheerful personality.

“I have never seen her without a smile on her face and a cheerful attitude and always with a professional attention to detail,” says Frank Barrientes, research assistant in Infectious Diseases. “I have seldom run across such people in my whole life — they are truly happy with work, life and themselves. Bernice makes you feel good, no matter what kind of day you are having. She is the kind of person that makes UAB a home.”

Gwen Juett, supervisor of Building Services, says Bowen is deserving of the award.

“We are so happy for Bernice for this honor,” says Juett, Bowen’s supervisor for the past two years. “She does an excellent job in the Ziegler Building, and when she is teamed up with other employees to do extra assignments she does a tremendous job. She has an excellent attendance record and is a pleasure to work with.”

If you know someone who should be employee of the month, nominate them by sending a letter to Jason Turner at or visit