Find Your Passion

Find Your Passion

Students at The University of Alabama find countless ways to get involved and expand their horizons through exploration and discovery. This section highlights students who have found their passion while pursuing their interests, and shows ways they are making an impact on the University, the state, and the world.

Mitchell GriestMixing the Senses

Mixing computer science with studio art, Mitchell Griest uses computer coding to create images.

Wesley TaylorResearch Immersion Outside American Comfort Zone

“You should only speak German with him.” At times, that was the last thing Wesley Taylor wanted to hear.

Runqiu JiHome (Far) Away From Home

‘Adventurous’ Ji finds her study abroad path leads to Alabama.

Matthew CulverBroadcasting Engineering

“Houndstooth and Hardhats,” a campus radio show with an engineering bent, was conceptualized by UA’s Matthew Culver.

Kinsey HaynesFrom Mix Tapes to Camera Lenses

Journalism student Kinsey Haynes turns a passion for music into a career path in music journalism.

Mallory HerringA Light Bulb Moment

An ability to dance combined with an acquired passion for choreography presents multi-talented Mallory Herring with ample options.

Michelle MontabanaSetting the Stage

Even if her future isn’t onstage, this music administration major finds ways to stand out.

Christian ShannonDesire to Help Becomes a ‘Fire in the Belly’

Campers with chronic challenges have shown Christian Shannon how to stay positive.

Haden HallmanProviding a Shelter

A student cites his religious faith in serving Kenyan youth.

Jackson MorrisAir Theatrics: Student Excels in Aerospace, Theater

Whether acting on stage or helping build an airplane, Jackson Morris is happy to be part of the team.

Hallie CrossPracticing (Advertising) in Paris

A social video advertising internship in Paris challenges a UA senior.

Monica BrintA Buddy for Discoveries

A UA student brings the fun side of science to local children.

Anna OlsonPeriodical Preparation

A journalism major finds multiple magazine opportunities while at UA.

Jatensia CalhounLeaving a Legacy

Jatensia Calhoun started the first chapter of Professional Women in Communication and Business.

Jonathan BelanichReaching Research Readers

As editor of a student-driven research journal, a New York native takes seriously the promotion of science.

Maci ArmsProducing Success

An eye for detail, organizational skills and a strong work ethic help a senior pursue her passion for film production.

Jordan BaerFirst-Generation Student Finds Innovative Opportunity

A first-generation student becomes the first employee of a UA start-up company.

Maci ArmsPrepping for Broadway's Lights

If University of Alabama senior Maci Arms was a compass, New York City would be her true North.

Lubna AlansariInternational Ambassador

Engineering student Lubna Alansari spreads a cultural awareness message.

Ashley LewisUA Senior Exchanges Opera for Hotel

Ashley Lewis swapped one dream for another and found a deeper connection with people.

Alex BeattyComing to Theaters Near You

Alex Beatty spends his days crafting stories that have made it onto big screens in Hollywood and Cannes, France.

Hannah HicksSeeking a Voice for Others

Hannah Hicks says a University of Alabama class sparked her drive toward social justice.

Mary HoganA Hospitable Leader

While following one dream, UA's Mary Hogan discovered another.

Ally MabryStirring a Need for Art

UA junior Ally Mabry provides an outlet for students to buy, sell and show their art work.

Jessica WhiteFacing Daily Pain, White Seeks to Help Others Manage Theirs

Following a chance meeting in a hospital waiting room, UA graduate Jessica White says she began replacing excuses with solutions.

Rich RobinsonNot Pretending Any More

Rich Robinson used to have an audience of one while "broadcasting" baseball games. His listeners have grown.

Will SandersOh, the Possibilities: Internship Opens Eyes to Marketing Opportunities

When Will Sanders refers to his part-time, on-campus internship as an "eye opener," it's a descriptor that fits.

Eugene RandleInterest in Pirate Ship Drives Scholar to Warrior River

A UA student receives an opportunity to create his own version of the Blackbeard excavation.

Sara HowardIn Helping Children Cope, Student Finds Herself

Meeting a young boy with cancer stirred a sea change in Sara Howard.

Nestor CamachoInventions Spark Curious Camacho

No longer scolded for taking things apart, Nestor Camacho’s childhood curiosity leads to a career path.

Tommy WalkerFor this Actor/Director, it's 'All in the Timing'

Studying both acting and directing, Tommy Walker has gained experience and insight both onstage and backstage.

Annika Zeyen It's All in the 'UA Family' for Gold Medalist

A University of Alabama senior says her "UA family" inspired her along the way to a Paralympic Gold Medal.

Alexandra FranklinBringing Southern Literary Influence to ‘Big City’ Publishing Houses

Alexandra Franklin has been enchanted by the written word for as long as she remembers.

Ryan MartinFrom Cheering Champions to Becoming One

Ryan Martin has cheered on several championship-winning sports teams as a member of UA's varsity cheerleading squad, and now has a blossoming career in sports journalism.

John CanadaMay Graduate Became 'Yoga Jess,' Finds Career Path

A high-school athlete who could not touch her toes transformed into 'Yoga Jess' and found a career path along the way.

John CanadaA Man With Plans

To see one of John Canada's plans unfolding, you'll have to be an early riser and willing to peer through the fog lifting off the Black Warrior River.

Catherine PostellFinding Hope with Man's Best Friend

In combining her two passions - helping people and dogs - UA student Catherine Postell examines ways service animals make a difference.

Caroline HensleyHoops and Rackets: UA Athlete Serves up Gold

When Mackenzie Soldan first arrived at UA, she thought her wheelchair tennis career was over; in reality, it had only just begun.

Caroline HensleyA Product of Positivity

An exemplary student and world champion water skier, Caroline Hensley is a force on the water and in the classroom.

Abigail HardinUsing Beauty to Build

From children's book author to fashion show coordinator, Abigail Hardin uses her interest in fashion to promote good in her community.

Kiemel LambFinding Harmony in Family, Faith and Music

One of four talented siblings who make up the Lamb Family Violin ensemble, Kiemel Lamb started playing as a 4-year-old who was inspired by her older sister.

Shelby CochranRocket Girl

Shelby Cochran's life has been inundated with aerospace engineering since she was a little girl.

Lindsay Jones LindseyStudent Sculpts Her Career Path

Lindsay Lindsey is an artist with a scientific bent, except when she's a scientist with an artistic bent.

Drew BullardEngineer/Linebacker Tackles the Heat

A former UA linebacker, Drew Bullard now sees his senior engineering design project contributing on the practice field.

Ashley GetwanTweets That Touched Lives

In the days following the late April tornado, University of Alabama student Ashley Getwan experienced her own epiphany: “if we tweet it, they will bring it.”

Allyson AngleA Natural Born Storyteller

Considering her last name, perhaps it’s no wonder journalism graduate student Allyson Angle loves finding just the right slant for each sports story she writes.

Zach CoppensFueled by a Love of Learning

As a child, Zack Coppens used paper clips to make door holders. Today, he prefers focusing on rockets and energy research. 

Xavier BurginA Well-Scripted Life

Not everyone is lucky enough to build a major around their hobby. Burgin, a junior from Columbus, Miss., did just that through New College at UA.

Afro-American Gospel ChoirMaking a Joyful Noise

Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, the Afro-American Gospel Choir has now become one of the most recognized student musical organizations on campus.

Robert MaxwellMaking Every Move Count

Robert Maxwell's love for the game of chess developed at a young age, but not until his senior year of college did Maxwell have the opportunity to share his passion.

Lisa ElizondoTelling a Mexican-American Story

Lisa Elizondo has given names and faces to the history of the farm workers movement in Washington state in the 1960s and 1970s.

Caroline BeardWorld of Opportunities

Caroline Beard says UA has provided her a “world of opportunities.” And she has taken that adage to heart, from exploring the world to saving it.

David BaileyToo Good to Fail

University of Alabama student David Bailey has an idea that is too good to fail, and it involves Alabama entrepreneurs seen as too small to succeed.

Nikki WheelusFrom Fascination to Aspiration

When Nikki Wheelus was a child she would gaze at the stars and wonder what was up there. The beauty of space amazed her.

Sean HudsonStudent Beats the Foster-Care Odds

University of Alabama student Sean Hudson could have been a statistic – instead he’s a success story.

Tiara DeesMore Than Child's Play

When Tiara Dees picked up a video-game controller at the age of 2, she didn’t know the pastime would become a passion.

Jon Lauer and Elyse LoveIdentifying the Plight of Rural, Expectant Moms

Students Jon Lauer and Elyse Love could not imagine living in a town without a hospital – until they began a research project revealing the plight of expectant mothers in rural parts of the state.

Dara WarrenMilitary Nurse Returns from Afghanistan to Pick Up Doctorate

Dara Warren will walk across the stage at commencement Aug. 7, completing an almost seven-year mission that took her to Iraq, Afghanistan, Japan, Germany and back home.

Jessica HetheringtonSign Points Fulbright Scholar to China

A 30-minute tour of The University of Alabama in 2006 changed Jessica Hetherington’s life.

Daniel MarburySaving Lives: UA Student Studies Ambulance Response Time

One ride could be the difference between life and death. That’s the lesson recent UA graduate Daniel Marbury learned by studying ambulance response times in Alabama.

Katy MontaltoSinger to 'Drive On' Following Graduation

UA May graduate Katy Montalto finished in the top eight of Country Music Television’s music video contest.

Travis TarboxInternalizing Teamwork Concept

A UA Army ROTC Cadet whose performance score ranks third among nearly 5,000 undergraduate cadets, nationally, credits his achievement to those surrounding him.

Jackie ParksMore Than Makeup

Super models in glossy fashion magazines may be role models to some teenagers, but senior Jackie Parks has made it her mission to help area teens have a more realistic and healthier concept of their own beauty.

Mark LentPhotography's Influence

A picture is worth a thousand words, and Mark Lent can prove it, having spent half of his college career researching the thought-provoking effects of photography.

Beth EubanksBringing Spaces to Life

The sheer mention of a stereotypical college dorm room is enough to make any student homesick. Beth Eubanks says she’s helping ensure this stereotype will not exist at UA.

Courtney ThompsonShelter from the Storm

When University of Alabama student Courtney Thompson walked into a highway rest area in Louisiana, she had no idea it would change her future.

Sarah PittsA Soulful Song

UA senior Sarah Pitts draws from her music-therapy training in comforting patients receiving hospice care.

Elizabeth JunkinA Football Field in a Teaspoon

When Elizabeth Junkin, a junior majoring in chemical and biological engineering, thinks of a football field, she envisions fitting it in a teaspoon.

Russell StephensLights, Camera, Russell

The lights, applause and thrill of the stage inspire Russell Stephens, a sophomore at The University of Alabama and self-proclaimed “theater geek.”

Daniel BushWWI Romance Helps Student Bring History to Life

Mae and Lige were a young couple going through the everyday ups and downs of any relationship.  Now, 90 years later, their old-fashioned courtship has been saved in their collection of letters, brought to life by University of Alabama honors student Daniel Bush.

Kayla TerryAn Everyday Inspiration

Little did Kayla Terry know that her class project tribute to her older brother, born with Down syndrome, would leave her with more than a good grade.

Cullen MillsapOorah! A Marine and a President

Cullen Millsap had all the qualities of a student leader before ever enrolling in his first class on The University of Alabama campus. Now, the UA senior is president of Phi Delta Theta fraternity, sharing his leadership skills for the benefit of others.

Alan BlinderFormer 'Walking Time Bomb' Launches Stroke Initiative

Sophomore Alan Blinder directs the new UA Pediatric Stroke Initiative, focused on education, advocacy and research.

Laura GodorecciCommitted to Creativity

Not every 20-year-old can say they have premiered a film at the Cannes Film Festival in France. Nor can many say they are fluent in six languages. Laura Godorecci, a recent University of Alabama graduate, can.

Stesha RossTransformer of Characters First Changed Herself

The Grinch isn’t known for inspiration, but recreating and designing makeup to transform herself into the Grinch for a class project convinced Stesha Ross she had found her calling.

Shalonda CapersSpeaking of Passion...

For a member of UA's nationally acclaimed Alabama Forensics Council, there seems to be no better quality than a love of words – besides, perhaps, enthusiasm.

Kyle ScottAnother Problem Solved

When Kyle Scott began his college search, he treated it like any engineer might – as a problem-solving challenge. Only this time he was on a quest to find an engineering program that perfectly matched his expectations.

Marathon RunnersMarathon Runners

A group of Honors College students is training to run the Country Music Half-Marathon, and they have found a supportive community and a passion for running in the process.

Mary Allison MilfordCrimson and Gold

When Mary Allison Milford made the decision to attend The University of Alabama, she wasn’t just thinking about Tuscaloosa – she was also thinking about Beijing.

Dana LewisDiabetes Advocate Changes How UA Eats

Whether or not you have met Dana Lewis, if you are a member of The University of Alabama community, she’s probably changed the way you eat lunch.

Frank BarberThe Dancing Doctor in the Making

Most people have a distinct preference for one type of thinking: they are left-brained or they are right-brained. Frank Barber, a senior double major in dance and biology at The University of Alabama, commands both.

Tyler HouseThe Virtual Capstone

Students interested in The University of Alabama now have an exciting new way to "tour" campus – through an online "world," known as Second Life.

India WilliamsHelping Her Hometown

A University of Alabama student brings fellowship and health care together with a project she views as inspiration for a healthier Tuscaloosa.

Ynhi ThaiA Bridge to Somewhere

The first time Ynhi Thai set foot on the Capstone’s campus, she felt at home. Culture has led Ynhi Thai to a new passion at UA – utilizing what she’s learned to help others.

Rick SmithThe Glass Shaper

Staff member Rick Smith, the facility manager for the Glass Blowing Facility at UA, creates custom glassware for use in research projects in a shop he designed himself.

Michelle HawthorneOvercoming Odds, Obstacles of Divorce

Michelle Hawthorne is not your average UA student. One thing important to Hawthorne has also become her passion – the study of parental alienation syndrome or PAS.

Phillips ThomasLeading By Example

For Phillips Thomas, service-learning projects are not just resume-fillers. For her, she says, they are about leading by example and impacting people’s lives in a hands-on, personal way.

Matt WilsonA Sports-Minded Entrepreneur

It may be hard to imagine most 19-year-olds as veterans of their chosen profession, but Matt Wilson is a vice president for production for HSTV Southeast.

Gustave Hahn-PowellTotal Immersion

Gustave Hahn-Powell entered UA looking for exotic topics. What he found was a strong interest in the language, music and philosophy of Japan, some 7,000 miles from Tuscaloosa.

Jamie Lee McReynoldsSouthern Roots Inspire Student's Love of Language

Questions about language and culture formed the spark for Jamie Lee McReynolds to research, while an undergraduate, the way we speak and how it sounds.

Josh HamiltonCaring for the Community

Josh Hamilton’s dedication to those less fortunate is inspiring, and he has extended the sense of caring he says he found at UA to regions far from the campus’ borders.

Lynnette MoatsAtypical Path to Patients Requires Patience

There were times, Lynnette Moats says, when quitting work to pursue a nursing degree seemed like a 4-year poverty sentence for her entire household, including her daughter and the two nieces she’s homeschooled throughout her college career.

Andrea MabryCombining Passions

Andrea Mabry was always catching her friends in the act. But her photo albums and scrapbooks aren’t filled with the usual “say cheese” pictures.

Aldrich CallinsA Learning Adventure

Two of Aldrich Callins’ passions are foreign travel and collecting information about the economies of foreign countries. Another passion is helping people.

Allison GarsteckiMaking Lives Bigger

Junior Allison Garstecki unearthed a key sandstone artifact, some 800 years old, during the final days of an archaeological expedition in which she and classmates participated.

Martha AddisonThe Total Package

As a little girl growing up in Florence, S.C., Martha Addison knew she wanted to be an aerospace engineer. When the time came to choose a college, Addison wanted a school that offered her everything she deserved.

Peyton BlankenshipA Fashionable Storyteller

Making actors comfortable on stage is a big part of senior Peyton Blankenship’s role as a costume designer in The University of Alabama’s theatre and dance department.

Phillip JordanProactive and Positive

A 65-year-old research study, an HBO documentary, and his own research have helped solidify Phillip Jordan’s life-long passion to aid inner-city African-American children with issues such as self-esteem and expectations.