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Blazer Male Excellence Network

  • Nore Hodge did not plan to get involved in student activities when he started as a freshman at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

    But when he attended his first Blazer Male Excellence Network event, he was hooked.

    The BMEN Peer Mentoring Program is designed to provide academic and social support to Black male students entering UAB. BMEN’s goal is to improve the new student’s quality of life by partnering them with a returning student and providing information on navigating the collegiate experience inside and outside the classroom.

    While applying to UAB, Hodge says, representatives for BMEN shared information on the program and won over his mother. He signed up, not really planning to follow through; but that changed after the first Enrichment Week event, when mentors and mentees come early to meet and get a head start on what college life is like. As soon as he met with the group, “it was just a good sense of belonging.”


  • When 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.

    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.


  • The Blazer Male Excellence Network at the University of Alabama at Birmingham celebrated its first 10 years by honoring those who gave so much to its students.

    This year, students Oladele Osisami and Bobby Ijeoma were awarded Green Blazers. Osisami was born in London, England, and came to the United States as a child. Osisami is a senior in UAB Honors College, majoring in biology with minors in chemistry and psychology. He works as the undergraduate research assistant for the School of Nursing. Upon graduation, he plans to attend medical school to get his M.D./MBA and become a psychiatrist.

    Ijeoma is a senior from Marietta, Georgia. His parents are immigrants from Nigeria. He is a senior chemistry major with minors in biology, philosophy and Spanish. He is in the Early Medical School Acceptance Program and UAB Honors College University Honors Program.


  • Bmen 2017

    Two University of Alabama at Birmingham students who have shown excellence in the classroom, on campus and in the community have been awarded with Green Blazers, an honor now in its second year.

    Seniors Devin Bonner and Joshua Peeples accepted their blazers Feb. 12 during the Blazer Male Excellence Network’s Undugu Male Gathering.

    The Green Blazer highlights members of BMEN and its Peer Mentoring Program, designed to provide academic and social support to black male students entering UAB.


    Devin Bonner

    Devin Bonner

    Devin is a Senior Biomedical Engineering Major and has consistently been on the Dean's List his entire time at UAB, is a member of the BME Honors Program, and currently has a 3.73 GPA. Along with these accomplishments, he is also a tutor for UAB Athlete Support Services.

    This mentor’s campus involvement includes being a founding member of the Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity. He also consistently participates in intramural athletics including football and basketball. He has been an active member of the Blazer Male Excellence Network since his freshman year at UAB.

    He has been a member since 2013. He was mentor to two freshmen in fall 2014, and one freshman in Fall 2015. He was recently named 2016 BMEN Mentor of the Year. He was selected as Lead Mentor for 2016-2017 academic year.

    Devin grew up in Georgiana, AL and was the first person in his family to go to and graduate from college. After graduation he plans to go in to medical implant design and then pursue a Master’s in Biomedical Engineering with a Certificate in Technology Commercialization and Entrepreneurship.

    He says:
    “BMEN means that I have a network of people striving for my success. It means being connected to something bigger than myself, because I know that we are capable of changing the way black men are viewed. The BMEN program has been a major leg up, throughout my undergraduate career, and I would not do anything that I have done with the program differently. It has truly helped transform me into a better person and professional. For that, I am very thankful.”

    Joshua Peeples

    Joshua Peeples

    Joshua Peeples is an Electrical Engineering Major with a Minor in Mathematics. He has been on either the Dean's List and the President's List every semester, and currently has a 3.70 GPA. Joshua is also a UAB School of Engineering Leadership Scholar.

    His campus involvement and leadership includes serving as a mentor on the Academic Success Center Tutor Advisory Committee and as a two-term president of the Multicultural Scholars Program. He has also served as the Vice Chair for the UAB Chapter of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and has been a consistent member of the Blazer Male Excellence Network.

    Joshua has been a member of BMEN since 2014 and has served as a role model, counselor and motivator for the incoming freshmen.

    Joshua Peeples is from Alabaster, Alabama and while growing up, his father did electrical work, as well as other odd-job repairs, for the people of our community. When he saw that he was able to help others with his hands, he wanted to do the same. This led him to discover Electrical Engineering. His father was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer when he was a freshman in high school. He lived for about eight months afterwards and this took a toll on his family; however, he used this as motivation because he told him that he would always do my best and succeed in whatever he decided. Throughout the time at UAB, he has been able to gain various scholarships, awards, leadership roles, and research opportunities. He is on the track to achieve his ultimate goal of becoming a distinguished professor. Upon graduation he will pursue his Ph.D. Joshua will continue to keep his word to his father by striving for excellence in all he does!

  • Three worthy students have earned a new honor, awarded for the first time at the University of Alabama at Birmingham — the Green Blazer.

    Brandon Cohill, Garrett Stephens and Samuel Sullivan, IV were awarded the inaugural green blazers for 2016 at the Blazer Male Excellence Network’s Undugu Male Gathering, held Feb. 18 in the new Hill Student Center. Undugu, a Swahili word, translates to “brotherhood.”


    Brandon Cohill

    Brandon Cohill

    Cohill, 23, of Birmingham, will graduate in April with a degree in nuclear medicine technology. Cohill has been an orientation leader, deputy chief of staff of Communications for the Undergraduate Student Government Association, USGA senator for the School of Health Professions, and vice president and president of the Iota Nu Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. The recognition he received from BMEN inspired him to push through his final semester of his undergraduate career, he says.

    “The greatest benefit BMEN has offered me was the opportunity to give back to other male students and a sense of brotherhood through networking opportunities with current and past members,” Cohill said. “Receiving my BMEN graduation stole is a moment that I have worked for since I joined the network. I guess you can say it is a dream come true.”

    Garrett Stephens

    Garrett Stephens

    Stephens, 22, of Opelika, will graduate in April with a degree in political science, with minors in criminal justice and international studies. Lead mentor with BMEN, he is also president of the Undergraduate Student Government Association. A member of the political science honor society Pi Sigma Alpha, he was also awarded the Student Impact Award at UAB’s Student Excellence Awards in 2015, an award that goes to the student who had the greatest impact on UAB’s campus during that academic year.

    The greatest benefit of BMEN for Stephens has been the opportunity to help incoming students, and ultimately to see them walk across the stage at graduation will be the greatest reward. Being awarded the Green Blazer has been the pinnacle of his time at UAB so far, he says.

    “It encourages me to continue this work, because it shows me that what I have done has had a profound effect on the program and the young men who are in the network,” Stephens said.

    Samuel Sullivan IV

    Samuel Sullivan, IV

    Samuel Sullivan, IV is a rising Senior at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He is pursuing a degree in Accounting with a concentration in Forensic Accounting / Info Tech Auditing.

    Samuel has worked in the fast food industry with Chick-fil-A and in the valet service industry with Apex Valet. For about 4 years now Samuel has done sound production work for his church True Love Church in Ensley, Alabama. Samuel is the current Chair of the Service Committee for the Eta Beta Chapter of Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity, Inc. and is also the VP of Finance for the Omega Tau Chapter of Alpha Kappa Psi. Last year Sam served as a Vice Lead Mentor for the Blazer Male Excellence Network, a program he has been a member of since his first days at UAB. Samuel has received the very high honor of the green blazer as a part of the UAB BMEN for his service as a Vice Lead Mentor and commitment to the program over the years. He is also a member of the Business Honors Program in UAB’s Collat School of Business. Samuel has recently been interning in his career field at Ernst & Young as well as Pearce, Bevill, Leesburg, Moore, P.C. Sam plans to finish up his degree here at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and pursue his Master’s. He also wants to sit for the CPA and CFE exams to further his education and professional credentials. Sam lives in Pleasant Grove, Alabama.