Illustration of a stage spotlight illuminating the words alumni spotlight.

Degrees and graduation years: PhD, UAB 2011; MPH, University of South Florida 2004; BS, Xavier University 2001

Current employer and job: Lieutenant Commander – Scientist Officer, USPHS Commissioned Corps

Q: Why did you choose to study public health, and how did you decide on UAB's School of Public Health?

I choose to study public health, quite frankly, because it's important and challenging! I grew up in rural Mississippi, and my grandparents had a dairy farm. They also grew acres of fresh vegetables. However, with the lasting environmental impact of certain pesticides and the heavy toll that farming takes on the body, even when a well-meaning individual tries to do the best for their health – external factors can still affect quality of life. So I chose to study public health to understand more about these impacts and help my community.

Public health is such an interesting and diversified topic that one must be able to understand and grasp multiple concepts and disciplines to address public health issues. When seeking a program for graduate study, I researched numerous schools and ultimately applied to two. I was accepted by both programs. I chose UAB because of its reputation of producing a high caliber of graduates.

Q: What professional achievement has made you the proudest?

My proudest professional achievement is becoming an active-duty officer in the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. Public health is my profession and my passion so it has been a lifelong dream of mine to become an officer in the only uniformed service in the world that specializes in public health.

Q: Where do you hope to go from here, or what are your future goals?

I'm exactly where I want to be professionally, so my hope is to continue to protect, promote, and advance the health and safety of the nation (USPHS Mission) to the best of my ability. However, I would like to continue to encourage and mentor future public health leaders. If the current pandemic has taught the world anything, it is that competent and diverse public health professionals are essential for the future.

Q: If someone wanted to learn more about you or the great work you’re doing, where should they look?

The best way to learn more about the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps is to visit You can also visit the U.S. Surgeon General website to learn more about the office's current priorities and urgent public health issues.

Q: What’s something that people may not know about you?

I have traveled to over 30 countries, and the list continues to grow!

Are you an alumnus of our school and want to read more about Luke and other Alumni Spotlights? Visit the private UAB School of Public Health alumni group on LinkedIn and request to join.

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