Thomas Bugg | Distinguished Undergraduate Scholar

Thomas BuggMajor: Chemistry with a concentration in Pre-Health Professional 

Minor: Social Innovation & Leadership and Accounting 

Hometown: Birmingham, Alabama

Favorite Experience: I’ve had an amazing academic experience at The University of Alabama, spanning from exercise science research to public markets investing with the Culverhouse Investment Management Group. However, my favorite overall experience was co-creating a fitness initiative in Marion, AL through the University Fellows Experience. Our project, “Marion on the Move”, was an incentives-based exercise initiative with the stated goal of decreasing obesity and diabetes rates within the community. Throughout the spring semester of my freshman year, I produced a comprehensive action plan outlining the necessary funding and medical equipment needed to implement our project the following summer. Additionally, I partnered with an amazing healthcare focused non-profit that provided much of the infrastructure needed to be successful. After receiving a $5,000 grant, we purchased several hundred pedometers, a state-of-art blood monitor, Fitbit, and EKG mobile device. During the month of May, we lived in Marion and hosted a three-week exercise competition in which those who logged the most steps using their free pedometers had the opportunity to win a Fitbit. Additionally, we were able to donate and install the grant-funded medical equipment at the local non-profit in order to further their healthcare efforts. Over the course of three weeks, 100+ community members took part in the competition, leading to a 38% increase in daily exercise.

Favorite Class: My favorite class at UA was CH 461, Biochemistry. Until that class, most of my science courses had felt rather disconnected. The teachings from biology did not overlap greatly with those from chemistry. Yet, biochemistry connected everything that I had learned previously in one course. It provided context for how the chemical processes I had learned about in general chemistry and organic chemistry were applied within the human body’s everyday function. My favorite professor at UA was Quoc Hoang. Although I never took a class with Quoc, he was the faculty sponsor for the Management Consulting Academy, a group I was a part of for three years. Quoc has the unique ability to connect with students in a way that feels “non-academic”. He’s pushed me to be a better leader and has accelerated much of my growth professionally. Furthermore, since the origin of the club, Quoc’s contributions have helped open doors for UA students in the management consulting industry that had previously been reserved for ivy league students.

Future Plans: After graduating in May, I will be working as a strategy consultant with a consulting firm in Boston. While I will not be working in a hospital, I hope to apply my learnings in business and finance to some of the healthcare problems that persist in our country.