Friday, June 24, 2011

Beautiful, smart and diverse – just like her University

Birmingham Magazine named the 21 most beautiful people in the Magic City. On that list is UAB Department of Biology student Amina Coghlan. “What I love about this nomination is that it is based on both physical and internal beauty,” says Coghlan. “What was even more beautiful was the diversity among the people selected.”(photo courtesy of Fred Bruche)

The 20-year-old Coghlan is a pre-med student majoring in biology. Born in Birmingham, but raised in Morocco, Coghlan witnessed more than most growing up, “I saw great illness and poverty amongst the population. As a young child, it affected me deeply to be incapable of helping those people. I wanted to grow up and be an agent of positive change.”

When it came time to choose a university, Amina left home for a place that felt like home.

“I feel very related to UAB because my dad and all my uncles graduated from UAB. My grandfather, Cecil Coghlan, was a cardiologist, researcher, and professor at UAB School of Medicine, so I knew UAB would provide me with excellent training as well as the resources to succeed in my career choice,” says Coghlan.

“Another reason that brought me here was because of its diversity. UAB has been ranked, for three consecutive years, among the top 10 for diversity by the Princeton Review. I was in search of a school where I would feel that my diverse background would be valued and welcomed.”

Through the UAB Leadership and Service Council Coghlan found a volunteer opportunity with MedMission. The Birmingham based non-profit sends medical supplies to third world countries and impoverished areas locally. “MedMission has sent medical supplies (as well as food, water, and beds) to several developing countries like Haiti, Sudan, Kenya, and Hungary. They have further developed my compassion and enthusiasm for helping not only my community but also communities overseas.” Coghlan is the chair and leader of this weekly volunteer program.

Coghlan has recently been admitted into the UAB Experiential Learning Scholars Program under the direction of Dr. Brad Newcomer. She hopes to attain her Ph.D. and work on cancer research.

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