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Student / Faculty Achievements

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FEBRUARY 2015

 

UA COMPUTER SCIENCE PROFESSOR HONORED AS DISTINGUISHED EDUCATOR

Dr. Jeff Gray, a UA professor of computer science, is one of five educators worldwide recognized as a 2014 Distinguished Educator. He is the first educator from Alabama to receive this award. The Distinguished Member Grade honors ACM members with at least 15 years of professional experience and five years of continuous membership who have achieved significant accomplishments or have made a significant impact on the computing field. Gray is a national leader in computer science education, and he is a member of Code.org’s Education Advisory Council. With support from Google, Code.org and the NSF, Gray has worked to train elementary and secondary teachers to incorporate computer science into their curriculum. He hosts an annual Alabama Robotics Competition for grades
K-12, along with summer computer camps.

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UA PROFESSOR TO BE INDUCTED INTO FIRST ALABAMA WRITERS HALL OF FAME

Rick Bragg, professor of writing in UA’s College of Communication and Information Services, has been selected as one of 12 members in the inaugural class of the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame. Bragg is a New York Times bestselling author whose memoirs include All Over But the Shoutin’ and Ava’s Man. Induction will be held in June 2015. The Alabama Center for the Book and the Alabama Writers’ Forum have partnered to create the state’s first comprehensive Alabama Writers Hall of Fame. Dr. Louis Pitschmann, dean of UA libraries and director for the Alabama Center for the Book, and Jeanie Thompson, executive director of the Alabama Writers’ Forum, said the time has come for significant recognition of the state’s creative literary talent.

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UA HOSTED SECOND YEAR OF THREE-MINUTE THESIS COMPETITION

Graduate students at UA had a chance to show off their research and presentation skills in the second iteration of Three Minute Thesis, and this time the stakes were even higher. Camera crews from Alabama Public Television recorded the 3MT semifinals. Cameras also followed some individual presenters in order to tell their stories as they prepared to compete. The University embraced 3MT last year as a way to help doctoral students distill their theses into an “elevator pitch” ¬ a short, effective display of their work that anyone can understand. An 80,000-word thesis would take about nine hours to present; 3MT competitors have to do it in 180 seconds. This year the competition was open to both doctoral and masters students.

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UA STUDENTS AT U.N. TO SUPPORT WOMEN’S ENTREPRENEURSHIP DAY

Two STEM Path to the MBA students visited the United Nations in New York City to represent UA at the inaugural Women’s Entrepreneurship Day. Rachel Ramey, a junior in civil engineering, and Melissa Jenkins, a senior in computer science, attended the conference. Ramey is leading STEM Path to the MBA efforts to conduct a study-abroad trip to India next summer to work on a reverse innovation project in a remote area of India. As a leader of the Culverhouse STEM Business Consulting Group, Ramey is working to help a nonprofit in Pakistan build schools and factories for women. Jenkins, an officer in UA’s chapter of the Association for Computer Machinery, helped start Innovators Anonymous on campus, and she initiated and helped lead Culverhouse efforts to bring the Startup Weekend event to campus. Jenkins has a 2015 internship in Dallas.

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UA STUDENT ATTENDED U.N. CLIMATE CHANGE TALKS IN PERU

The American Chemical Society selected eight students nationwide, including a UA senior, as representatives to attend the upcoming United Nations climate-change conference in Lima, Peru. Catherine King, a Huntsville native studying chemical engineering and chemistry at UA, attended the conference where representatives from more than 190 nations will gather to forge an international climate change agreement. King’s role will include interviewing world leaders and blogging about the talks she will attend in an attempt to prompt others to take additional interest in climate change. King, who conducts research on campus alongside Drs. Gabriela Gurau and Julia Shamshina, employees of the UA-based start-up company, 525 Solutions, says she was encouraged to apply for the ACS slot by Dr. Robin Rogers, a UA chemistry professor.

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UA DOCTORAL STUDENT NAMED FELLOW BY INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION

A UA engineering doctoral student was named a fellow by the International Road Federation. Samwel Zephaniah, a native of Kenya, traveled to Washington, DC, for the Federation’s annual multi-day leadership and orientation program. The program enhances fellows’ leadership skills and provides insight into the transportation industry through visits to prominent domestic, regional and international organizations. Zephaniah is pursuing a doctorate in civil engineering from UA, where he also works as a teaching assistant and as a research assistant to Dr. Steven L. Jones, Jr., UA associate professor in the department of civil, construction and environmental engineering. In Kenya, Zephaniah has worked on numerous projects involving traffic data collection, highway development soils investigation and geometric design.

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DIRECTOR NAMED FOR UA’S NEW CENTER FOR INSURANCE INFORMATION

Dr. Lars Powell has been named as the inaugural director of the newly created Alabama Center for Insurance Information and Research. Powell, a professor of finance, holds the Whitbeck-Beyer Chair of Insurance and Financial Services at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock. Before pursuing an academic career, he worked as an insurance agent and as a medical malpractice claims adjuster. Powell has been an active consultant to private and public entities in matters related to insurance operations, regulation and empirical analysis. The Alabama Center for Insurance Information and Research, located within the Culverhouse College of Commerce, was authorized in 2013 by Gov. Robert J. Bentley and is designed to be a non-partisan and highly credible source for information about various insurance issues of importance to the people of the state of Alabama.

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PROFESSOR NAMED DIRECTOR OF UA’S CENTER FOR FRESHWATER STUDIES

Dr. Alex Huryn, professor in UA’s department of biological sciences, has been named director of the Center for Freshwater Studies in UA’s College of Arts and Sciences. Huryn’s research interests include looking at how local, landscape and regional factors affect the structure and productivity of communities of organisms in freshwater. He has been involved in a number of collaborative studies addressing the relationship between ecosystem productivity and geomorphology, regional geology, invasive species, Neotropical amphibian declines, river-floodplain linkages, regional nitrogen deposition and climate change. He has worked intensively in stream and river systems in southeastern Ohio, western North Carolina, northern and central Alabama, the South Island of New Zealand, Maine, Panama, the North Slope of Alaska and Iceland.

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ENGINEERING PROFESSOR RECEIVED UA’S BLACKMON-MOODY AWARD

Dr. Gregory B. Thompson, professor of metallurgical and materials engineering at UA, received the 2014 Blackmon-Moody Outstanding Professor Award. Since coming to UA in 2003, Thompson has received external funding from organizations such as the National Science Foundation, NASA, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the Office of Naval Research and the Army Research Office. These awards have totaled several millions of dollars in the support of basic and applied research in materials development. Thompson serves as director of the Materials Science doctoral program on campus, associate director of the University’s Central Analytical Facility and director of the Materials Metrology Research Consortium, and he has been involved in multiple outreach and service activities.

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UA BOASTS THREE NEW AMERICAN ACADEMY OF NURSING FELLOWS

Dr. Suzanne S. Prevost, dean of the UA’s Capstone College of Nursing, and Dr. Marietta P. Stanton, graduate faculty member in the College, have become Fellows of the American Academy of Nursing. They were inducted, along with alumnae Dr. Marsha Howell Adams, a former senior associate dean of the College, at the 2014 American Academy of Nursing Policy Conference in Washington, DC. The American Academy of Nursing serves the public and the nursing profession by advancing health policy and practice through the generation, synthesis and dissemination of nursing knowledge. The Academy’s more than 2,200 Fellows are nursing’s most accomplished leaders in education, management, practice and research. They have been chosen for their extraordinary contributions to nursing and health care.

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UAB NURSING ASSISTANT PROFESSOR NAMED AMONG SELECT GROUP OF NURSING SCHOLARS

Carrie Ann Gakumo, Ph.D., assistant professor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing, was one of 12 U.S. nursing educators selected for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholars program in 2014. The Nurse Faculty Scholar award is given to junior nurse faculty who show strong promise as future leaders in academic nursing. In conjunction with the selection, Gakumo will receive a three-year, $350,000 award to promote her academic career and support her research.

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UAB’S CHAIR OF GENETICS NAMED FELLOW OF THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF SCIENCE

Bruce Korf, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Genetics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Election as a fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers. The newly selected fellows will be recognized on February 14, 2015, at the AAAS Fellows Forum during the 2015 AAAS Annual Meeting in San Jose, CA.

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THIRD UAB STUDENT NAMED RHODES SCHOLAR

Ameen Barghi of the University of Alabama at Birmingham was elected to the Rhodes Scholar Class of 2015. He is one of 32 outstanding U.S. students who will start their all-expenses-paid, graduate educations at Oxford University next fall. Barghi is the third UAB student since 2000 named as a Rhodes scholar. Barghi, 22, began his work at UAB as a hospital volunteer in 10th grade, and then joined the lab of Edward Taub, Ph.D., world-renowned behavioral neuroscientist in UAB’s psychology department in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences. He has worked on computational analyses of MRI neuro-imaging, publishing five papers in peer-reviewed research journals.

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UAB PHYSICIST NAMED FELLOW OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF INVENTORS

Laser physicist Sergey Mirov joined the University of Alabama at Birmingham physics faculty in 1993 and created a flourishing research team. Recognition of the resulting laser inventions and more than 20 patents accompany the naming of Mirov as a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).

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UAB ASSISTANT PROFESSOR HONORED AS YOUNG LEADER IN HOSPICE AND PALLIATIVE CARE

Jessica Merlin, M.D., MBA, assistant professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, was named an inspirational leader under the age of 40 in hospice and palliative medicine by the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.

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UAB SCHOOL OF NURSING DEAN TO SERVE ON VA NATIONAL ACADEMIC AFFILIATIONS COUNCIL

Doreen C. Harper, Ph.D., Dean and Fay B. Ireland Chair in Nursing of the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing, has been appointed to serve a two-year term on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Academic Affiliations Council by Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald.

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UAB PROFESSOR EMERITUS IN NUTRITION SCIENCE EARNS FULBRIGHT-NEHRU AWARD TO STUDY GLOBAL HEALTH

Mohammad Khaled, Ph.D., professor emeritus in the UAB Department of Nutrition Sciences was awarded a Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Award to develop and improve research and teaching efforts in India related to Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Khaled will collaborate with the Department of Physiology at the University of Calcutta, India, to look at Type 2 diabetes mellitus specifically due to Helecobacter pylori (H. pylori) infections, which are highly prevalent among Indian populations. This expands research Khaled conducted while a professor at UAB.

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UAH EARTH SYSTEM SCIENCE STUDENT AWARDED PRESTIGIOUS FELLOWSHIP WITH THE EPA

UAH Earth System Science undergraduate student Montana Etten-Bohm was awarded a prestigious fellowship with the Environmental Protection Agency which will allow her to study federal regulations on water quality in the southeastern United States.

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UAH EARTH SYSTEM SCIENCE GRADUATE STUDENT SELECTED WINNER OF THESIS COMPETITION

Eric Anderson, Earth System Science Masters graduate, was selected as the winner of the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools Thesis Competition for his thesis “Analysis of rainfall‐triggered landslide hazards through the dynamic integration of remotely sensed, modeled and in situ environmental factors in El Salvador.”

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UAH STUDENTS WIN FIRST AND SECOND PRIZE IN THE ANNUAL WERNER VON BRAUN RESEARCH SYMPOSIUM

UAH undergraduate students, Jeanne le Roux (Earth System Science major) and Christopher Phillips (Atmospheric Science and Physics double major) won first and second prize in the annual Werner von Braun Symposium undergraduate science student poster session.

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UAH SPACE SCIENCE PROFESSOR WAS TEAM LEADER ON ISSI RESEARCH TEAM

Professor N.V. Pogorelov was a Team Leader on an International Space Science Institute (ISSI, Bern, Switzerland) research team “Heliosheath Processes and Structure of the Helio-pause: Modeling Energetic Particles, Cosmic Rays, and Magnetic Fields,” which had its final meeting at ISSI on November 17-20, 2014.

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UAH ASSOCIATE DEAN IN COLLEGE OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION RECEIVES SERVICE AWARD

Dr. Jatinder Gupta, Associate Dean of the College of Business, received the Dennis E. Grawoig Distinguished Service Award at the annual meeting of Decision Sciences Institute in Tampa, FL. The award was given for his role in the globalization of the Decisions Services Institute and his dedication to its members for over two decades.

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UAH BUSINESS STUDENTS ATTEND TVA INVESTMENT CHALLENGE CONFERENCE

Two College of Business Administration students, Sean Markert and Bruce McMullen, were selected to represent UAH’s student investment management team, the Capital Management Group, at the 2014 TVA Investment Challenge Conference in Nashville, TN. The event brought together students from each of the Investment Challenge Program universities to hear from TVA executives and a panel discussion featuring investment professionals from several Wall Street investment firms. The students also gave their own presentations outlining the investment philosophy, process, and performance of the Capital Management Group.

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UAH COLLEGE OF BUSINESS STUDENTS VIE FOR BOEING SCHOLARSHIP

Fourteen teams of College of Business students participated in the Boeing New Business Challenge scholarship contest. Each team pitched a new business concept to a group of judges and received feedback that will be used in preparing for the final stage of the contest in April. The winning team will be awarded a $10,000 scholarship.

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UAH ART PROFESSOR ACCEPTED INTO EXHIBITION AT THE BLOCH GALLERY

Ms. K. Jill Johnson, Associate Professor in the UAH Art Department, had work accepted into an exhibition entitled “Collective Explorations” at the Bloch Gallery at the University of Montevallo in Montevallo, AL and a solo show of works on paper at the Fayetteville Lincoln County Library in Fayetteville, TN.

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WORK OF UAH PHOTOGRAPHY PROFESSOR INCLUDED IN HUNTSVILLE MUSEUM OF ART EXHIBIT

Mr. José Betancourt, Associate Professor in the UAH Art Department, had an image accepted into the highly competitive “Red Clay Survey of Southern Art 2014” hosted by the Huntsville Museum of Art that ran from August to November.

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UAH ART STUDENT DESIGNS FOOD TRUCK APP

Graduating BFA student Amanda Blanton designed an app for tracking food trucks that was featured in the Huntsville Times. She then met with Google representatives in San Francisco about using it in their market.

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UAH HISTORY STUDENT LEADS EFFORT TO RESTORE HISTORIC CEMETERY

Patricia Cates, a history major at UAH, is helping to restore and preserve Mount Paran Cemetery in New Market, AL. Cates, with the support of Dr. John Kvach, is committed to cleaning up the cemetery and turning it into a place where people can actively engage in history.

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COLLEGE OF NURSING AT UAH

- Adams, M. Induction as a fellow into the American Academy of Nursing. Washington, DC. (October).

- Brooklyn Burgess, Junior Nursing Student, was elected Communcations Director of the Alabama Association of Nursing Students for the 2014-2015 year. Faculty advisors are Mark Reynolds & Angela Caires.

- Eric Hagood, Senior Nursing Student, was elected Vice President of the Alabama Association of Nursing Students for the 2014-2015 year. Faculty advisors are Mark Reynolds & Angela Caires.

- Carly Hasting, Senior Nursing Student, was elected President of the Alabama Association of Nursing Students for the 2014-2015 year. Faculty advisors are Mark Reynolds & Angela Caires.

- Kenna Haycraft, Senior Nursing Student, was appointed the Breakthrough to Nursing Director of the Alabama Association of Nursing Students for the 2014-2015 year. Faculty advisors are Mark Reynolds & Angela Caires.

- Marlena Primeau, Clinical Associate Professor was appointed to Advisory/Steering Committee for the ANCC National Healthcare Disaster.

- Bethany Wilson, Junior Nursing Student, was elected Director North of the Alabama Association of Nursing Students for the 2014-2015 year. Faculty advisors are Mark Reynolds & Angela Caires.

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ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING STUDENTS AT UAH BUILD SOLAR POWERED CHARGING BENCH

UAH Electrical Engineering Students built and installed the first solar-powered charging bench, located at Charger Way and John Wright Road. Powered by renewable energy, the SPCB provides a place for students, faculty, and visitors to easily charge their mobile devices while enjoying the outdoors. The students involved – Patrick Doyle, Ashley Johnson, Beverly Martin, and Donna Vaughn – created the bench for their senior design project, a requirement of UAH’s electrical engineering undergraduate degree program.

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UAH ELECTRICAL AND COMPUTER ENGINEERING PROFESSOR NAMED INVENTOR OF THE YEAR

Dr. Emil Jovanov, Associate Professor at the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, has been named Inventor of the Year by Alabama Launchpad. This most successful patent is a smart pill bottle that notifies you to take your medication, reminds you if you missed a dose, and can alert your doctor or pharmacist if you are missing doses. It is currently in production and clinical testing by patent licensee AdhereTech, which supported and provided data for Dr. Jovanov’s nomination.

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OFFICE OF THE VICE PRESIDENT FOR RESEARCH AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (OVPRED) AT UAH HOLDS PRESS CONFERENCE

On Monday December 15th a press conference was held at the American Geophysical Union (AGU), “Latest look at X-rays and gamma-rays in thunderstorms.” UAH researchers have discovered that many types of storms produce TGFs. Dr. Michael S. Briggs of CSPAR conducted the gamma-ray portion of the research and the meteorological research by Dr. Themis Chronis of the Earth System Science Center. The press conference panelist for this research was Dr. Chronis.

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BIOLOGY & ENGINEERING STUDENTS FROM SCHOOL OF GRADUATE STUDIES AT UAH WIN THREE MINUTE THESIS COMPETITION

Aleksandra Pivovarova (Masters) and Satyajeet Padhi (PhD) were the first place winner in this fall’s Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition on November 21st. Fifteen graduate students had three minutes to present a compelling oration on their thesis/dissertation and its significance. The competition challenged students to consolidate their ideas and research discoveries so they can be presented concisely to a non-specialist audience. UAH hosts the event to provide students with an opportunity to develop their oral communication and presentation skills. It also provides a valuable opportunity for research students to come together, get to know one another, and talk about their research in a supportive environment. 3MT is an academic competition developed by The University of Queensland in Australia for research students.

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UAH GRADUATE COMMITTEE SELECTS ENGINEERING STUDENT TO REPRESENT UAH IN COUNCIL OF GRADUATE DEANS THESIS COMPETITION

Each year the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools request nominations from participating universities to nominate graduate students for their scholarship awards. A graduate committee met to review submitted theses and agreed Eric Anderson’s thesis titled “Analysis Of Rainfall-Triggered Landslide Hazards through the Dynamic Integration of Remotely Sensed, Modeled and in Situ Environmental Factors in El Salvador,” was the best choice for submission for the use of innovative technology category. If Mr. Anderson’s thesis is selected, he will win a $1000.00 scholarship, plus travel expenses to accept his award at the Annual CSGS conference in New Orleans, LA.