Roxgena Jones, Occupational Therapy

Roxgena Jones, an M.S. in Occupational Therapy student expected to graduate December 2022, has been awarded a UAB School of Health Professions Blazer Forever Scholarship. She is one of five SHP students selected during Homecoming Week based on their answer to an essay question. Here is the question and Roxgena's answer.

What makes you most proud to be a UAB Blazer?

Growing up in “the black belt,” one of the most segregated areas in Alabama, I never got the opportunity to interact with peers of the opposite race. Separation of black and white students within the school system were permanent in my hometown until two years ago when the first charter school was opened to encourage integration within the community with grade-aged students.

From Kindergarten through undergrad, I had a minimum of encounters with people of different race. However, the University of Alabama in Birmingham gave me the opportunity to change that this year when I was admitted into the School of Health Professions for the master’s program of Occupational Therapy. The diversity within the university makes me most proud to be a UAB Blazer.

Not only have I gained diversity within the classroom with my peers, but in other aspects as well. The university gives me diversity within the classroom, the faculty, and the instructional learning that is provided. Having diversity within the classroom gives me the opportunity to learn and grow from others. It is important that I surround myself with individuals with different perspectives than me, so I am given the opportunity to grow in areas that may need improvement such as my communication skills and self-awareness.

UAB’s classroom mirrors what my professional setting will reflect when I transition into the workplace. The classroom diversity allows me to learn about traditions and cultural values of others, which will be essential when rendering services to individuals of different ethnicity within the communities. Not only does the university give me diversity within the classroom, but also amongst the faculty. The faculty’s diversity within their experiences and knowledge assist me in becoming a more rounded professional.

I am grateful that I have the chance to learn from professors who have hands on knowledge and experience in major areas that the profession of occupational therapy thrives in such as, low vision, community based research, and at risk populations just to name a few. The diversity in the instructional learning environment provided by the university is another element that is crucial to my development as an occupational therapist. The learning environment gives me the ability to explore other ways of learning that cultivates my intellect.

The teaching styles give me a sufficient amount of ways that assist me with retaining the material that is being provided. Rather it is through the open discussions, in class polls, or 3D labs; the diversity in the delivery of the instructional material gives me opportunities to learn material in more than just one way.

Overall, the University of Alabama at Birmingham gives me diversity, which is what I am most proud of as a UAB Blazer. The diversity within the classroom, faculty, and instructional learning gives me the confidence and knowledge I will need to succeed in my future endeavors as an Occupational Therapist.