In May, we welcomed over 400 GEAR UP Alabama students to UAB's campus for our second year of UAB MiniCamps. MiniCamps are designed to simulate a "day in the life" of a UAB student. Rather than have us tell you about their time here, we decieded to use words directly from our students. Here's what some of them had to say: 

When asked, "What has been the most memorable part of UAB MiniCamp for you? Why?" these students said: 

Tiana Taylor, Sweet Water High School

The most memorable part of this UAB MiniCamp was being in a dorm and being in a hands-on class. This UAB minicamp gave me a very real experience on what college life is like. It was amazing to see how big this school really is and what all is here. I loved hearing the UAB students speak on their behalf on their experiences here, hardships, disadvantages and advantages at UAB. It taught me to get out of your shell and be outgoing.

Chemyn'a Rice, Greene County High School

The UAB MiniCamp has been very interesting for the past day and a half. I have experienced living in a dorm room, eating from UAB's café, getting to know administration/faculty members at UAB and walked the campus. My most favorite moment here at this MiniCamp was seeing the varieties of Greeks do a mini stroll of their strolls. Honestly, I didn't plan on attending UAB, but after experiencing this, I now have UAB as one of the choices of schools to attend!

Tanyia Hill, Carver High School

The most memorable part of minicamp for me was seeing the RAD session where I learned self defense techniques. Also, I enjoyed breaking into small groups and asking questions to the volunteers. I asked questions about their dual enrollment experience, time management tips, and their relationships with students. If I could say one thing to UAB or Gear Up Alabama administrators about this experience I would tell them thank you, because they are blessing me with the gift of knowledge.

Keitajah Thompson, Greene County High School

The most memorable part of MiniCamp for me was meeting  up with different schools I didn't know. This experience was very important for me because I love going around talking to different people. A lot of people call me friendly, but I really just like getting to know people and who they are. I would love to come back to this camp and do the fun things we did as in play kickball, have a defensive class and watch the great step shows! I really enjoyed my two days here and hope to come again!

Chrishae Davis, Sidney Lanier High School

The most memorable part of the Minicamp for me was when I got to hear about people's college experience and their fears when they first started college. Now I know how it feels to be a college student and how it feels to be in college classes. I am thankful that I got to experience this MiniCamp at UAB.

Jamee Peurll, Carver Senior High School

The most memorable part of this mini-camp was watching the first generation students talk about their different paths. In my opinion, to show vulnerability and expose yourself to 200 kids that you don't know and will probably never see again says a lot about their character. But in layman's terms it just means that they genuinely care about a "stranger's" future. I am very thankful for that, and may God bless you. I pray that you all graduate.

Socoyia Adams, Amelia L. Johnson High School

The most memorable part of the MiniCamp was the day in the park seeing all kids playing along enjoying themselves because I see that everyone enjoyed kickball, tug-of-war, spike ball, etc. Also, I would like to thank UAB, staff and counselors for everything, including the inspiration. To the UAB students, thank you for sharing your life stories and majors with us. It encourages us to think more about college and to get ready for college they had to become strong students to keep pushing and enjoying life.

Kayla Downey, Sweet Water High School

This MiniCamp has been very interesting to me. I have always been interested in the University of Alabama at Birmingham. This camp has allowed me to see more inside UAB. I am a very shy person when it comes to meeting new people and this has allowed me to come out of my shell and want to interact with others. I am a granddaughter and daughter of two wonderful ladies who are nurses so I was kind of born into the Health Professions. I am wanting to major in Pre-Natal Care and minor in Health Care Management. This allowed me to explore UAB new School of Nursing and also learn more about the undergraduate program for Nursing. For me, learning is easier when it is hands on and I have learned and seen the UAB offers and a lot more in my major of interest. This has allowed me to get even more interested and into the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Being able to stay in the dorms gave me a big eye opener for college life. I have been to UAB a couple of times and this has given me almost everything.

Ja'Korey Shepherd, Greenville High School

The most memorable part of MiniCamp for me was the "Let Us Make Men" workshop. It was really touching and made me think; think about life choices, people I collaborate with and the music I listen to. Dr. White, Dr. Briggs and the other speakers in our session had very excellent points for us (as growing young men) and why we do the things we do. He presented us with cultural, worldly situations that we had to logically think about. He then allowed us to debate with arguments and lots of counterarguments. I also learned in the workshop that your race or background does not define your abilities or intellectual skills in life. It was an outstanding workshop and I would love to hear more encouraging words from them.

Maliyah Smith, Jefferson Davis High School

The most memorable part of UAB MiniCamp was the class with Mr. Wilkinson. He opened my eyes and ears to public health. During this camp I noticed that public health is more than keeping the external part of your body up. Also, public health plays a big part of life. The lesson he gave was memorable because I want to major in Public Health and help and touch people like this minicamp did for me.

Brianna Julius, Jefferson Davis High School

This was my first time minicamp and my first time staying here on campus. I can say that I have enjoyed my time here as well as the information that I have received. The most memorable part of this minicamp was going to the UAB School of Nursing simulation lab. I enjoyed going there because I want to become a dermatologist later on down the line. This camp has really inspired me into doing more research to finding a path to success. I've talked to people who have broken things down to me that I have really found helpful. I really gained most of my information from the resource fair. I talked to the admission, scholarships, as well as the public health representatives. I enjoyed activities we did but felt like we could do more. Being that UAB is my dream school I really have enjoyed this camp. My class was really well: I found that I am better in math then I tell myself; I never really doubt myself but I am very hesitant.

Destiny Price, Pike County High School

For me, the most memorable part of UAB MiniCamp was the Resource Fair. The reason it was my favorite part of the minicamp was because it was very informative. Also, you got to know the people at each and every table. They gave you all types of information on the campus and what UAB has to offer. Learning about the different programs and scholarships really made me think about a possible future at UAB. I also enjoyed RAD night. I like how they taught us different techniques to use against people. It was a fun, yet influential experience. There were so many things to do and learn from. I love to have been given this opportunity.

Kwantavius Lawson, Jefferson Davis High School

If I could say one thing about my experience at UAB MiniCamp, it would be motivational. I would say this because there were a lot of students whose backgrounds are similar to mine. For instance, one of the students stated that he did not have a strong support system, which I can relate to. The experience taught me that I am not alone. It taught me that it is okay to be afraid but it is not a bad idea. Everyone has a full potential and that potential can be reached when you apply yourself and be passionate about what you want to become.