BMENjoomlaWhen Daniel Moore was awarded the Blazer Male Excellence Network Green Blazer of Excellence this spring, he knew the hard work he put in over the last four years had paid off.

Moore, from Washington, D.C., is ready to graduate from the University of Alabama at Birmingham on Saturday, April 27, with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering and a minor in chemistry.

BMEN is a peer mentoring program in Student and Multicultural and Diversity Programs at UAB, designed to provide academic and social support to black male students entering UAB. BMEN’s overall goal is to improve the quality of life for a new student by partnering him with a returning student, and by staff providing information on navigating the collegiate experience inside and outside of the classroom.

The BMEN organization plays a pivotal role in the lives of many African-American men at UAB, providing them a space on campus to achieve success and network with people in and out of the program, Moore says.

“Being awarded the Green Blazer is such an honor because I have watched many people before me receive the honor, including my mentor freshman year, Devin Bonner (a 2017 recipient),” Moore said. “Being a part of this group has helped me because it provided me the space to develop relationships with people similar to me. Coming from out of state and not knowing anyone in Birmingham, this group provided me with the opportunity to meet other black males at UAB.”

BMEN student-mentors are selected each spring and go through training to offer the best services possible. Faculty and staff members and professionals from the community are invited to work with the group. BMEN students who excel in the classroom, campus and community may earn a Green Blazer. These students are BMEN leaders, active in campus organizations, leaders in the community and highly respected by their peers.

Moore is a resident assistant for freshmen, director of the civic engagement committee for the Leadership and Service Council, and vice president of the Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students. 

In summer 2016, Moore was able to participate in the Summer Medical and Dental Education Program at Duke University. While there, he met other minorities interested in medicine and also gained health care exposure, along with information on how to be the best applicant he can be, Moore says. His experience there further confirmed his interest in medicine. This past summer, Moore participated in the Research Experience for Undergraduates on Bioactive Interfaces and Devices Program at the University of Kentucky.

“My research topic was an ‘Injectable System for Sustained Release of Bupivacaine for Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery,’” Moore said. “This was a great experience where I was able to learn about the process of creating drug delivery systems and also explore more of my biomedical engineering background.”

Upon graduation, he plans to work and prepare to apply for medical school. He is interested in several medical specialties, including psychiatry, surgery and emergency medicine. Moore also says he wants to create a mentoring program for underrepresented minorities in the STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — fields. He says his biggest challenge in college was feeling that he did not belong, so he wants to increase representation of black males in STEM and help underserved communities receive better health care opportunities.

“Sometimes being a black male at a primarily white institution, you can feel out of place, and BMEN provides an inclusive environment where you will meet other black males with similar goals as you, or are where you want to be,” Moore said.

Pursuing the medical profession as a black male, Moore says he does not see many people who look like him, and that at times could be discouraging. As he thought about what he wanted to do in life and how he wanted to make an impact, he was able to overcome these thoughts through participation in BMEN. His advice for other incoming black male students is to join BMEN, “because it provides you the opportunity to network and develop relationships that will help you on your path to success.

“When you want to make an impact it is never easy,” Moore said. “Like anything, you get out of it what you put in; but there are so many people who want to see you succeed and come to BMEN to help you reach your goals.”