Lamario Williams HeadshotAccording to the online resource, an estimated 1.7 million private scholarships and fellowships are awarded each year. For students receiving these funds, it can often be a game-changer in their academic careers. In the case of UAB MSTP student Lamario Williams (GS-2), scholarships have allowed him to pursue his passion for cardiovascular surgery and research. 

Born in St. Louis, Missouri but raised in Huntsville, Williams grew up seeing disparities in the school and health care systems. In Alabama, Lamario attended majority-white schools, whereas systems available to his family in St. Louis were in predominately black neighborhoods. Lamario added, “when I visit St. Louis, I see some of the problems my own family is dealing with—seeing the disparities and having to go to all the funerals makes you ask, why does this happen to my family? It doesn’t seem to be something others are dealing with as much.” Seeing issues like this first-hand drives Williams’ desire to make a difference.

To help Williams achieve his dream, the John Stallworth Foundation, an organization that has been around since 1980 and is well known for its generous donations to academically gifted students from diverse backgrounds, identified him as the recipient of one of their four-year scholarships. At the time, Williams was in the first year of his undergraduate studies—on track to earn degrees in Biophysics and Biomedical Sciences.

Years later, after learning about an opportunity to do a medical mission in Nepal, Williams turned once again to the John Stallworth Foundation. Ready to help, Williams was rewarded with funds to assist with his work overseas. While in Nepal, he worked at Stupa Community Hospital, shadowing and volunteering. It was on this four-week journey that Williams decided to apply to MD-PhD programs.

The gratitude Williams feels for the John Stallworth Foundation’s dedication to fostering his education, and personal growth has motivated him to create his own non-profit organization, committed to helping other students achieve their goals.

The DUBS Foundation namesake can be explained many ways, stemming from African American Vernacular English (AAVE). The letter “W” is the first letter of Lamario’s family name (Williams). Additionally, the letter “W” is considered in many circles as a win, also often called a “DUB.”

Launched in February 2020, DUBS Foundation is looking to bring scholarship funding to two groups: secondary school teachers in the Birmingham City Schools and high school seniors looking to advance to the next step. Currently, due to COVID-19, DUBS Foundation is considering alternative ways they can help teachers during this time. For students, the foundation does not have requirements based on ethnicity or socioeconomic status; however, equity is a pillar of the foundation and something that will be considered.

DUBS Foundation welcomes applicants for traditional two- or four-year colleges or job-specific certificates.
The main thing is we want to give scholarships to students who are creative, hoping to set them on a good trajectory for their career,” “We want students interested in literally everything—STEM, the arts, and even vocational careers.”

Regardless if it’s his career or the new foundation, Williams follows a guiding principle taught to him by his parents: love. “I always think to myself ‘lead with love.’ If you do that, you’ll never lose.”

If you would like to get involved with DUBS Foundation, they are always open to collaborating and would love to hear from you.


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