Benjamin Abney, a Physician Assistant Studies student expected to graduate December 2021, has been awarded a UAB School of Health Professions Blazer Forever Scholarship. He is one of five SHP students selected during Homecoming Week based on their answer to an essay question. Here is the question and Benjamin's answer.

What makes you most proud to be a UAB Blazer?

I am thrilled to be UAB Blazer, the opportunities presented by UAB in the medical field are unlimited. After moving from Indiana, I enrolled in the Physician Assistant Program and have never looked back. UAB is a “medical powerhouse,” and its name alone makes me proud to be a graduate of this university in the future.

I am confident the medical training I am learning will instill qualities in myself to be an excellent and reliable medical provider; my professors are constantly pushing me past my comfort zone to reach my greatest potential. I am beyond grateful. UAB and its commitment to encouraging diversity on campus is refreshing to see and what attracted me to the UAB PA Program.

There is beauty in our differences, and we should use them as strengths in order to give back to the community. Diversity is about giving every human being value, no matter our differences. Currently, the Physician Assistant (PA) workforce is dominated by individuals of European descent and lacking providers of color. Our PA program has made an initiative to recruiting minorities to this campus to better care for the minority patients who enter the hospital. There is an enormous need for this in the medical community and UAB has stepped up to the challenge.

Service to my community is an important value I cherish in my career. Every time I step on campus, I feel a sense of community and willingness to serve anyone in need. Numerous opportunities are presented to students to help individuals; a unique opportunity provided by UAB is for PA students to volunteer their time to provide free medical care to the homeless population. It is very important for students to utilize the skills they learn in school to give back for a greater good.

Considering the COVID-19 pandemic, I am still very proud to be a UAB Blazer. Our classes may be online, but I remain humbled and thankful to be a part of the UAB Family. I am very impressed with how our campus community has come together to support each other during these tough times. Our COVID response has been phenomenal, I am certain we will beat COVID-19. UAB embodies a commitment to diversity, inclusion, and service that I am proud to be a part of. From receiving lectures from top medical providers in their fields to our great campus initiatives, I know my time spent at campus will forever shape me.

Once a Blazer, always a Blazer.