Valene Garr Barry and Angela Richardson, students in our Department of Nutrition Sciences, have been honored by the UAB Graduate School as recipients of the 2021 UAB Samuel B. Barker Award for Excellence in Graduate Studies.

The Barker Award, named for UAB’s first graduate dean, Dr. Samuel Booth Barker, is given each spring to graduate students who represent the highest level of student achievement in a UAB graduate program.

Valene Garr Barry


catherine scullValene Garr Barry, MS, PhD in Nutrition Sciences, School of Health Professions; Graduate Certificate in Mentoring and Leadership, the Graduate School – Spring 2021

Plans after graduation: “I have accepted a position as a postdoctoral research scholar in Dr. Linda Peterson and Susan Racette's labs in the Department of Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine, and in the WUSTL Transdisciplinary Pre- and Postdoctoral Training Program in Obesity and Cardiovascular Disease. My research objective is to contribute to advancements in the way we understand the role of obesity in women’s health during the perinatal period and to discover novel methods to identify and mitigate cardiometabolic disease risk among women across the lifespan.”

Biggest accomplishment as a graduate student: “By far my biggest accomplishment as a graduate student has been finding and cultivating my passion to mentor and inspire the next generation of researchers. About halfway through my graduate school journey, I began to actively find ways to mentor undergraduate students and more junior graduate students. The joy and fulfillment that I have gleaned, in addition to the friendships and sense of community that I built from mentoring and leadership have made me a better graduate student and will ultimately make me a better researcher, faculty member, and leader in my future positions.”

Angela Richardson


trey gordonAngela Richardson, Master of Science in Nutrition Sciences, Lifestyle Management & Disease Prevention/Dietitian Education Program, School of Health Professions – Fall 2021

Plans after graduation: “My goal after graduation is to become a registered dietitian, and I am excited to contribute to the field of dietetics in manifold ways. In addition to working one on one to help clients develop informed and successful wellness plans for their various medical and lifestyle needs, I will advocate for policy changes that decrease disparities, improve access to nutritious food in low-income communities and promote healthy food consumption in any neighborhood. I also want to drive advances in research and methodology that will impact future dietary strategies and potential medicinal applications as societies continue to evolve. Ultimately, I hope to motivate, support and lead others to live a happy, balanced life.”

Biggest accomplishment as a graduate student: “As a dietetics intern, I am driven to make a meaningful impact in people’s lives through nutrition and am thrilled for the opportunity to learn and take part in building a healthier community. In my internships thus far, I have worked closely with clients of governmental WIC and SNAP programs, educating families about how to choose and prepare healthy meals given their individualized circumstances. As part of the Flowing Wells School District food services team, I prepared and served nutritious meals daily for those in need during the school shutdowns that occurred as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic. Currently, I am working as part of the Banner Health care team, and my role as a student dietitian is to help patients achieve a better quality of life through lifestyle and diet modifications. As a member of the Arizona Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AZAND) conference committee, I am also currently engaged in the planning and execution of this year’s virtual conference in June 2021.

These feature stories originally appeared as part of a larger article written by the UAB Graduate School.