UAB doctoral grad talks about the challenges she faced during the pandemic

The college experience during a pandemic

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Congratulations are in order for Catie Scull who’s walking in a graduation ceremony Friday to collect her PhD in Biochemical Engineering and Molecular Genetics.

Some of the work happening as the world was shutting down because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I had my defense, which is our big meeting where we defend all of the research that we did during graduate school and present our science to the community. So, that happened a couple of weeks before the university went into lockdown and everyone went into quarantine,” Scull said.

The shutdown meant Scull was unable to tie up loose ends, like saying goodbye to friends and mentors, and graduation was canceled.

Scull says adding to the sadness was the uncertainty of packing up her life during a pandemic, moving to Michigan to start her post-doctoral program.

“Is the I-9 office going to be open for me to actually be able to start my job with paperwork? Am I going to be able to get a U-Haul to move my things to Michigan? Am I going to be able to leave my current apartment so that the next people can move in, and then get into my future apartment in Michigan? And all of those things were big question marks,” Scull explained.

But through it all, Scull has learned to adapt in this ever-changing environment as true scientists do.

Scull said she’s thankful UAB is doing graduation ceremonies, including those who didn’t get to walk last year.

Nearly 2,000 graduates will participate in three ceremonies this weekend at Legion Field.

The university is taking safety precautions and is requiring everyone to wear masks.

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