Real-world business project teaches students value of accounting

There's the novel idea that starts a business and then there's the running of the business, with one of these decidedly more sensational than the other. If you can't already guess which garners the most excitement, here's a hint: it's not bookkeeping.

"No one starts a business and says, I want to keep a great set of books! They usually have a great product or service they want to sell or they're good at networking," says Dr. Hank Alewine, Assistant Professor in the College of Business Administration at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). "But it's difficult to run a business successfully if you don't know what's going on in the books."

That's a lesson he's not only teaching his graduate students, but also local business owners as well, thanks to his group consulting project. Each semester, teams of about five students from Dr. Alewine's Cost Management (ACC 614) or Managerial Accounting (ACC 602) classes are tasked with analyzing a real-world organization's cost management needs and identifying possible solutions or improvements, which they then present to the class and collate into a report.

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UAH graduate student wins Three Minute Thesis competition with some help from Spider-Man

Trying to explain a complex scientific concept like lateral gene transfer in three minutes so that the average person can actually understand it is a task most of us wouldn't even consider undertaking. But not only did David Gray rise to that challenge, he blew it away – twice.

A graduate student at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), Gray took the top spot in last November's Three Minute Thesis and Dissertation (3MT) competition here at UAH before going on to win the grand prize at last month's regional 3MT competition in San Antonio, TX.

How did he do it? Well, first he got a little help from a well-known superhero.

"I watched videos of past winners and I noticed that almost everyone had come up with an analogy to explain their research," says the biochemistry major. "So I decided to use Spider-Man as my analogy, because Spider-Man gets his powers in a way that seems a lot like lateral gene transfer."

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New organization represents interests of UAH’s graduate students

UAH has over 120 student-run organizations, and now there's one just for graduate students: the Graduate Student Organization (GSO). Formed in the spring of this year, the GSO's mission is to "represent graduate students, help with their research, and improve their networking and job skills," says founder and president Nishanth Goli.

Goli, a master's candidate in the field of aerospace engineering, first got the idea to form a graduate student organization in summer of 2013. At the time, he was serving as an engineering senator in UAH's Student Government Association (SGA), one of only two graduate students in the organization.

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The dust devil and the details: Spinning up a storm on Mars

Spinning up a dust devil in the thin air of Mars requires a stronger updraft than is needed to create a similar vortex on Earth, according to research at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH).

Early results from this research in UAH's Atmospheric Science Department are scheduled for presentation today at the American Geophysical Union's fall meeting in San Francisco.

"To start a dust devil on Mars you need convection, a strong updraft," said Bryce Williams, an atmospheric science graduate student at UAH. "We looked at the ratio between convection and surface turbulence to find the sweet spot where there is enough updraft to overcome the low level wind and turbulence. And on Mars, where we think the process that creates a vortex is more easily disrupted by frictional dissipation – turbulence and wind at the surface – you need twice as much convective updraft as you do on Earth."

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UAH Balloon EUSO team has first-flight success


UAH Center for Space Plasma and Aeronomic Research (CSPAR) graduate student Matthew Rodencal, Douglass Huie of the Rotorcraft Systems Engineering and Simulation Center (RSESC) and Dr. James Adams of CSPAR were part of a team in Canada that successfully rendezvoused with a stratospheric balloon carrying the prototype of the Extreme Universe Space Observatory (EUSO) telescope on a moonless night over a remote area of the province of Ontario, Canada, late Sunday night.

The balloon was launched from Timmons, Ontario, Canada. During the launch operations the helicopter, based at Carp Airport near Ottawa, flew to Timmins landing there while the balloon was ascending. Shortly after the balloon was in total darkness the helicopter reached the balloon and flew under it for more than two hours, calibrating the prototype with flashes of light that simulate those caused by cosmic rays. The balloon was located and followed by the helicopter using a graphical tracking system developed at UAH. The light sources on the helicopter included flashers developed at UAH.

EUSO is being developed for a flight on the International Space Station to record the luminous tracks left by extremely energetic cosmic rays when they strike the Earth's atmosphere.

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