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Student / Faculty Achievements


JUNE 2016


Two UA Students Named Truman Scholars
The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation has named UA students Ciara Malaugh, of Huntsville, and Dana Sweeney, of Kingsland, GA, as Truman Scholars for 2016. Malaugh and Sweeney are among 54 U.S. students to receive a Truman Scholarship this year. UA was among only six institutions with multiple Truman Scholars in 2016. Each new Truman Scholar receives up to $30,000 for graduate study. Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling and special internship opportunities within the federal government. The Truman program drew 775 candidates nominated by 305 colleges and universities. Recipients were chosen from 197 finalists by 16 independent selection panels.


UA Engineering Student Received Prestigious Hertz Fellowship
Sarah McFann, a UA senior from Arlington, TN, has received an elite Fannie and John Hertz Foundation Fellowship for 2016. McFann is the first UA student to be named a recipient of the award, which has been presented to fewer than 1,200 students in its 53-year history. McFann was chosen for the fellowship from a field of more than 800 students from top universities nationwide who will pursue doctorates in science, engineering and mathematics. Winners are selected for their intellect, ingenuity and potential to bring meaningful improvement to society and are encouraged to pursue science for the public good. The foundation provides doctoral tuition and stipend support for five years while offering its Fellows full research freedom.


UA Nursing Professor Selected to International Leadership Academy
Dr. Sara Kaylor, an assistant professor in UA’s Capstone College of Nursing, was selected to participate in the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau 2016-17 Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy. Administered by STTI and The Elsevier Foundation, the 20-month highly selective mentored leadership academy is designed to further academic career development and success; promote nurse faculty retention and satisfaction; encourage personal leadership development; and cultivate high-performing, supportive work environments in academe. The Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy pairs aspiring full-time, non-tenured faculty leaders, called scholars, with experienced leadership mentors, who are then supported by academy faculty members. The academy curriculum includes educational strategies for developing leader-ship knowledge and competence.

Three UA Students Earned Hollings Scholarships
Three UA sophomores received the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship for 2016-2018. They are Tzofi Klinghoffer, of Wilton, NH; Blair Morrison, of Finchville, KY; and Kathryn Shay, of Crest Hill, IL. The scholarship provides $9,500 a year for full-time study during the junior and senior years and $7,000 for a 10-week internship at NOAA or an NOAA-approved facility during the summer between the junior and senior years. The Hollings Scholarship is given in addition to existing awards the student may already receive. Since the program’s inception in 2005, more than 30 UA students have been named Hollings Scholars.


Two UA Students Named Goldwater Scholars
The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program has selected two UA students as Goldwater Scholars for 2016-2017. They are Andrew Raddatz, a chemical engineering student from Austin, TX;  and Jacob M. Robinson, a chemical engineering major from Dexter, MO. In addition, Samantha Dyroff, a chemistry major from Des Peres, MO, received an honorable mention. From 2007 to 2016, UA is No. 1 in the United States for Goldwater Scholars, with 27. Harvard is second, with 26. This year, 252 Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,150 mathematics, science and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide. The scholarships cover the cost of tuition, fees, books and room and board up to $7,500 a year.


Two UA Faculty Members Win NSF CAREER Awards
The National Science Foundation selected two UA professors, Dr. Alexey Volkov and Dr. Kimberly Genareau, for CAREER Awards for their research. The multi-year awards fund both basic research and the development of educational materials for children. Genareau, assistant professor of geological sciences, will receive a five-year grant of $433,000 to study volcanic eruptions and lightning. Volkov, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, will receive $500,000 to study ceramic-based nanocomposite materials.


UA Theatre Professor Selected As SEC Faculty Achievement Award Winner
Seth Panitch, professor of theatre, was chosen as the 2016 Southeastern Conference Faculty Achievement Award winner for UA. Panitch, who also serves as director of MFA and Undergraduate Acting Programs at UA, was one of only 14 professors across the SEC to be selected for the honor. Since 2012, the SEC has honored faculty at universities within the conference for their academic achievements in research and scholarship. To be eligible for the award, faculty within the SEC have to have achieved the rank of full professor, have a record of extraordinary teaching and have a record of scholarship that’s nationally or internationally recognized.


UA Professor Wins National Broadcast Award
The UA College of Communication and Information Sciences made another strong showing at the recent 2016 Broadcast Education Association’s Festival of Media Arts in Las Vegas, NV. Dr. Michael Bruce, UA assistant professor of telecommunication and film, won Best of Festival in the BEA Faculty Sports Competition for his production of TideSports.com TV. The 30-minute episodes aired on WVUA 23 twice weekly during the 2015 Alabama football season. Bruce worked in conjunction with The Tuscaloosa News/TideSports.com and WVUA23 to produce the series. Also, UA telecommunication and film students Shanrica Evans, of Decatur, GA, and Jack Royer, of Birmingham, and the Capstone video production class taught by UA instructor Nick Corrao all received honorable mention for their work.


UA Instructor Elected President of American Association of School Librarians
Steven Yates, an instructor in the UA School of Library and Information Studies, has been elected as the 2017-2018 American Association of School Librarians president. Yates will serve as president-elect during 2016-2017. AASL is the only national professional member-ship organization focused on school librarians and the school library community. The association has more than 7,000 members and serves school librarians in the United States, Canada and around the world. Yates serves as acting coordinator of UA’s school library media certification program and is a member-at-large on the AASL board of directors. Yates is a member of the 2010 class of ALA Emerging Leaders and has served on both the Emerging Leaders program subcommittee and the ALA committee on diversity.


UA Professor Named Library Diversity Research Honoree
The American Library Association named UA’s Dr. Jamie Campbell Naidoo as its 2016 Achievement in Library Diversity Research honoree. Naidoo, a UA associate professor in the School of Library and Information Studies, has focused on services to diverse families and children in his career. His research interests include the portrayal of underrepresented groups in children’s and young adult literature and library services to gender-variant and LGBTQ children and parents. These interests have resulted in the publication of books, peer-reviewed articles, papers and book chapters. The School of Library and Information Studies is housed in UA’s College of Communication and Information Sciences.


UAB Physician Recognized for Mentoring Junior Fellows in Obstetrics and Gynecology

G. Wright Bates Jr., M.D., professor and director in the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, has been chosen to receive the 2016 American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Mentor Award. The ACOG Committee on Honors and Recognitions and the Junior Fellow Congress Advisory Council give recognition to outstanding mentors across the United States who have made a difference and had a positive impact on junior fellows’ careers.


UAB Nursing Doctoral Student Wins Scholarship for Leadership in Occupational Health

UAB School of Nursing Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing student Aoyjai Prapanjaroensin has been named the recipient of this year’s Kathleen C. Brown Scholarship for Emerging Leadership in Occupational Health Nursing by the Central Alabama Association of Occupational Health Nurses. The $500 scholarship provided financial support for Prapanjaroensin to represent the Birmingham-area CAAOHN chapter at the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses 2016 National Conference.


UAB Students Win Public Health Scholar Bowl in St. Louis

Five students from the UAB School of Public Health competed against 13 teams from across the United States in the St. Louis University Public Health Scholar Bowl, winning first place in the bowl and tying for second place in the case competition. Beenish Kamran, Katherine Hymel, Sean McMahon, Claire Finney and Aarin Palomares won the quiz-bowl-style tournament focused on current public health topics ranging from disease outbreaks to global and community health.


UAB Undergraduates Awarded Fellowship to Participate in Cutting-Edge Research

Two UAB students have been selected for the Amgen Scholars U.S. Program. They will each travel to other institutions to conduct research projects this summer. Jarrod Hicks, a neuroscience student in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Psychology and School of Medicine’s Department of Neurobiology, has been admitted to the program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Akhil Kaushik, a biology major in the College of Arts and Sciences, has been admitted to the program at Washington University in St. Louis.


UAB Student Wins Fellowship to One of the Best Graduate Music Programs in the Nation

After having completed dual undergraduate degrees in music and theater from the College of Arts and Sciences, with honors from the UAB Honors College’s Experiential Learning Honors Program and the Department of Music’s Young Performing Artist Program, Nole Jones is heading to one of the country’s strongest graduate programs in music, says one of his primary teachers, Associate Professor of Voice Kristine Hurst-Wajszczuk, DMA. Jones won a fellowship to attend the University of Illinois this fall in the Master of Music program. The fellowship includes full tuition and health benefits, as well as a stipend.


UAB Student Earns Prestigious National Honor

A UAB student was named a 2016 Goldwater Scholar by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship in Excellence in Education Foundation, and three UAB students earned honorable mention. Courtney Walker, a junior neuroscience student in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Psychology and member of the UAB Honors College’s Science and Technology Honors Program, joins the group of 21 UAB students who have been named Goldwater Scholars to date.


UAB Student Leadership Staffer Named 2016 White House “Champion for Change”

The White House chose UAB student leadership staffer Quang Do as a 2016 “Champion of Change” and recognized him and nine other individuals on May 4. Do is among a group of 10 people selected from across the country as “White House Champions of Change for Asian-American and Pacific Islander Art and Storytelling.” He traveled to Washington, D.C., to attend an awards presentation at the White House, serve on panels during the day, and speak about his work at UAB, his art and spoken word, as well as meet with peers and students. He also attended a gala where President Barack Obama gave the keynote.


UAH History Student Wins Best Paper Award at Regional Honor Society Meeting

Hayden Herfurth, a senior history major, won the award for best under-graduate paper in the global history category at the Phi Alpha Theta Alabama Regional Meeting held in Mobile, AL, in March.


UAH Art Lecturer Featured in Museum Exhibit

Ms. Katie Baldwin, Assistant Professor of Art, is one of eight artists featured in the Dothan, AL, Wiregrass Museum’s exhibition “Made in Alabama.” Her work will be on display April 22 to June 25.


UAH Professor Emeritus Teaches Course in Romania

Professor Emeritus Dr. James K. McCollum taught a class on Applied Business Management to students at the Romanian-American University at Bucharest Romania during March and April 2016.


UAH Associate Professor Receives Outstanding Reviewer Status

Dr. Sophia Marinova, Associate Professor of Management, received Outstanding Reviewer Status for her reviewing services to the Journal of Business Research, a respected management journal with an interdisciplinary focus.


UAH Professor and Associate Dean Elected President of DSI

Dr. Jatinder Gupta, Professor and Associate Dean, has been elected as President-Elect of the Decision Sciences Institute (DSI). Dr. Gupta began his term in April 2016 and will serve as President of DSI in 2017.


UAH College of Education Assistant Professor Receives Recognition for Writing Excellence

Dr. Wolfram Verlaan’s chapter “Using Video-reflection with Pre-Service Teachers: A Cautionary Tale” published in Literacy Research, Practice, and Evaluation was selected in April by the Emerald Publishing editorial team as an Outstanding Author Contribution in the 2016 Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence.


UAH Dean Serves on Grant Review Committee

Dr. Beth Quick was an invited peer reviewer for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Early Comprehensive Childhood Systems Impact grant review in April.


UAH Spinoff Wins $100,000 in Inaugural Alabama Launchpad Alumni Competition

A company started by UAH professor Dr. Krishnan Chittur has won $100,000 in Alabama Launchpad’s inaugural LEAP Alumni Startup Competition. GeneCapture is located in the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology. The company’s team of chemical engineers, molecular biologists, physicists, and entrepreneurs is developing a portable instrument to screen for dozens of pathogens within
an hour, for less than $20.


Micro-thruster Test Stand Paper Boosts UAH Graduate Student to AIAA Award

A research paper describing a magnetically levitated micro-thruster test stand that cuts spacecraft development time using 3-D printed parts and high speed motion detection has won a best student paper award for a UAH graduate student. Amit Patel received the award in the master’s student division at the 2016 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Region II Student Conference in Huntsville working with Dr. Jason Cassibry.


UAH Clinical Assistant Professors Receive Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree

Angela Caires and Mark Reynolds, Clinical Assistant Professors of Nursing at UAH, completed their Doctor of Nursing Practice degrees at UAH in May 2016.


UAH Clinical Assistant Professor of Nursing Selected for Commission

Rita Ferguson, Clinical Assistant Professor of Nursing at UAH, was selected for the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) on-site evaluator training.


UAH Clinical Assistant Professor of Nursing Receives Award

Maria L. Steele, Clinical Assistant Professor of Nursing at UAH, was awarded the Alabama League for Nursing Lamplighter Award.


UAH College of Science Professor Named Editor-in-Chief

Dr. Mikel D. Petty of the Department of Computer Science has been named Editor-in-Chief of the journal SIMULATION: Transactions of the Society for Modeling and Simulation International, effective May 1, 2016. The society is the largest professional organization devoted solely to modeling and simulation. The journal is a peer-reviewed, scholarly, archival journal that has been published since 1963.


UAH Director Elected as a Member of the National Academy of Sciences

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has elected as a member Dr. Gary P. Zank, Director of the Center for Space Plasma and Aeronomic Research (CSPAR) and the chair of the Space Science Department at UAH. Dr. Zank becomes the only current member of the University of Alabama System to be a member of NAS.


UAH Propulsion Research Center (PRC) and Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering Researchers Honored by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)

Four PRC Faculty Researchers from the Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering were honored at the Huntsville Engineers Week Awards Banquet. Dr. James Blackmon, received the UAH College of Engineering (COE) Lifetime Achievement Award, Dr. Kader Frendi received the UAH COE Senior Professor Award, Dr. Phillip Ligrani received the ASME North Alabama Section Outstanding Mechanical Engineer of the Year Award, and Dr. Sarma Rani received the UAH COE Outstanding Junior Professor Award.


UAH’s PRC Director Wins Faculty Advisor of the Year

PRC Director and Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering Professor Dr. Robert Frederick won the Advisor of the Year award presented by UAH Registered Student Organizations. He was given this honor for his fantastic mentoring of the Propulsion Research Center Student Association (PRCSA).


UAH Student Named First Hollings Scholar

Adam Clayton, a sophomore majoring in Earth System Science, has been named UAH’s first NOAA Hollings scholar. As a Hollings scholar, Clayton will receive scholarship support for the last two years of his undergraduate program. Clayton has been involved in research in severe weather since the summer after his freshman year.