UAH hosts first annual Piano Competition & Festival

Piano Competition

The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) held its first annual Piano Competition & Festival last month at Roberts Recital Hall on the UAH campus.

Designed to inspire young pianists to strive for artistic excellence and to promote piano playing in the area, the competition was open to students between the ages of 11 and 18 who reside in the states of Alabama and Tennessee.

"This was the first all-day piano event in the Huntsville area," says Dr. Melody Ng, Assistant Professor and Artist-Teacher of Piano in the Department of Music in UAH's College of Liberal Arts. "Plus, this is the only piano competition thus far in Huntsville that is completely opened to public."

The competition was divided into two categories – Junior (ages 11-14) and Senior (ages 15-18) – with prizes awarded to the top three performers in each.


Butler and Randolph Students Win Entrepreneurship Prizes

The Village of Promise - Randolph School Academic Challenge

The Village of Promise - Randolph School Academic Challenge culminated on Sunday, April 13, with two triumphant winners of the Entrepreneurship Competition.

The first-place prize went to Randolph School sophomore Mr. Saahil Katyal for creating the Math Attack Interactive Textbook, a colorful and fun electronic curriculum for teaching math to children.

The second-place prize, sponsored by Junior Achievement, went to Butler High School freshman Ms. Meleen Harding for designing the Beauty Folder, a prototype makeup kit for busy teens that includes a mobile app for viewing instructions.

Mr. Coleman Martinson, a freshman at Randolph School, took third place with the Bott, a prototype mobile-phone case that also serves as a battery charger, is powered by a battery pack, and is perfect for hikers and campers far from the electrical grid.

On behalf of the College of Business Administration at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), Dr. John R. Whitman, interim director of the Innovation, Commercialization, and Entrepreneurship Lab at the College, presented the first-place prize. It consisted of a summer internship and stipend for $2,500, sponsored by the Village of Promise; a seat in the new VIBE Downtown co-working space for entrepreneurs, sponsored by the UAH College of Business Administration and managed by BizTech; and mentorship by business professionals and other entrepreneurs. The second-place prize consisted of membership in the summer Entrepreneurship Camp held at the UAH College of Business Administration.

"Saahil is the perfect startup leader, with high energy, an informed focus, and the drive to overcome obstacles and reduce risk as he makes his vision to teach kids math a reality," says Whitman, who also teaches entrepreneurship and leadership courses at the UAH Business School. "He should thrive in the new co-working space in Courthouse Square this summer, not only learning from fellow entrepreneurs, but also helping them along as well. Keep your eyes on Mr. Katyal."


UAH Rowing Club powered in part by school spirit


Neither Logan McEwen nor Rachel Gregory gave much thought to rowing before attending UAH. But today that disinterest is a thing of the past. Now the two share an unbridled love of the sport, serving as president and treasurer, respectively, of the UAH Rowing Club.

McEwen, a veteran of the Navy and a Fort Payne, Ala., native, had always had an athletic bent. "I played football in middle school and then I was a cyclist," he says. So for him, rowing was a natural progression. "I saw ads when I came to UAH, and I tried it out and loved it."


UAH Charger Cheerleaders take top prize at JAMfest Nationals Series

IMG 4717TN

Last month, the Charger Cheerleaders at UAH decided to take their spirit on the road. Their destination? The JAMfest Nationals Series in Mobile, where they won first place in the International Open Co-Ed Cheer and the Open Partner Stunt events.

"I was so proud of the squad and what they were able to accomplish at JAMfest," says Nikki Goode, Director of Student Activities and the squad's advisor. "Most of our cheerleaders have little or no background in cheerleading, so it is amazing to see the development that occurs in each of these students in such a short period of time."


AMC Commanding General Dennis L. Via to give UAH spring commencement address

General Dennis_L._Via_USAtn

General Dennis L. Via, Commander of the U.S. Army Materiel Command on Redstone Arsenal, is scheduled to deliver UAH's commencement address on Sunday, May 4. The ceremony begins at 2 p.m., and will be held in the Von Braun Center Propst Arena in downtown Huntsville.

UAH is expected to award more than 800 diplomas at its spring graduation ceremony - 578 bachelor's degrees, 197 master's degrees and 27 doctoral degrees. General Via will be awarded an honorary doctorate from UAH during the ceremony.

The U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC) is the Army's premier provider of materiel readiness to ensure dominant land force capability for the U.S. Warfighter and our allies.


2014-2015 Orientation Leaders gear up for summer at UAH

UAH Orientation Leaders

New Student Orientation at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) is designed to help ease the transition from high school, college, or the workforce to life in the Charger Nation. And helping facilitate that process – and make it both exciting and enjoyable – is the job of UAH's Orientation Leaders (OLs).

"OLs act as sources of support and information for new freshmen and transfer students, and they play a major role in facilitating the adjustment of new students and their families to UAH," says Jenny Russell, who serves as the Assistant Director of New Student Orientation and Family Programs at the university.

They're also highly recognizable by their boundless energy and school spirit – a must when it comes to participating in Orientation traditions like the Orientation Leader Welcome Skit & Dance and teaching new students the UAH fight song. After all, says Russell, "the goal of orientation is to make students and families feel welcome and that they've made a wonderful decision in joining the Charger Nation."

Needless to say, competition for the university's 20 OL positions is strong. "Students must be representative of our campus diversity, be active in student life, and boast a high academic standard," says Russell of the requirements. "They must also complete an application, an individual interview, and a group process to be considered for the position."

Some OLs apply and are accepted for a second or third year, and in doing so, receive additional responsibilities. "Returning OLs help with graphic design projects, developing our social media, and coming up with our traditions and skits, while two OLs each year can return for a third year as Orientation Leader Coordinators," says Russell.


UAH’s partnership with nearby HudsonAlpha proves a benefit to both


When Dr. Eric Mendenhall accepted a position as assistant professor with the Department of Biological Sciences at UAH this past fall, one of the deciding factors was the university's unique relationship with the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology.

"The HudsonAlpha Institute, led by President Richard Myers, is especially prolific in their research, and future collaborations seemed like they would be easy to establish and mutually beneficial," he says. Then with a laugh he adds, "Dr. Myers really helped recruit me to come to UAH with promises of future collaborations!"

Joking aside, however, Dr. Myers has more than made good on his promise. He has partnered with Dr. Mendenhall on the ENCODE project, a large consortium effort to define the epigenome across both normal and diseased cells.


UAH and Army Band to Give Joint Performance

UAH Music Event

The Wind Ensemble at UAH and the U.S. Army Materiel Command Band will give a joint performance at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 11, at the First Baptist Church (600 Governors Drive).

UAH conductor Dr. David Ragsdale and AMC commander CWO Jessie Pasqua will present a dynamic evening of repertoire with guest conductors Dr. David Spencer of Huntsville High School and Mr. Gary Green of the University of Miami.

The program, an exhibition concert for the Alabama Bandmasters Association's All-State Band Festival, will conclude with David Maslanka's epic Symphony No. 4. The program, approximately one hour in duration, is free and open to the public and consists of the following:

The Star Spangled Banner
Composed by Francis Scott Key and arranged especially for the UAH Wind Ensemble by UAH alum Curtis Lindsay, the National Anthem will be performed by baritone soloist SSG Scarlett of the U.S. Army Materiel Command Band.

Fanfare and Allegro by Clifton Williams
Fanfare and Allegro was the first composition to win the Ostwald Award for original band literature. The award was presented at the American Bandmasters Association convention in 1956. It is written in an exciting contemporary style with a brilliant score. The work opens with a declamatory fanfare section, which leads directly to the allegro movement. It features ostinato figures, brilliant brass, and percussion. Although rhythmically complex, the music is impressive and straightforward, and its resonance and sonority are ideally suited to the medium of the modern wind band.

Redwood by Ryan George
"When the Collins Hill High School Band approached me about writing a piece for their head band director, who was set to retire at the end of the year, they wanted something that spoke not only to this man's love of music but also to his love for the great outdoors. I was reminded, then, of the times growing up when my family and I would go camping in Sequoia National Park, and we would set up our tents among the giant redwood trees that grow in that region of California. These trees command attention with their immense stature, their size the result of years gone by and storms weathered. And yet they exude a peaceful and subtle tranquility. This idea of 'Powerful Tranquility' became the cornerstone of this lyrical tone poem." - Ryan George


UAH students celebrate Greek Week in a big way

Greek Week

It's crunch time for graduating seniors at UAH. The few remaining days before graduation are spent dotting i's and crossing t's – cramming for exams, and completing senior theses for research papers or projects.

But students are temporarily putting books and laptops on the back burner to participate in Greek Week activities at UAH, April 5-12. The annual week-long event is filled with philanthropy projects and competitive social activities.

"One of the greatest values exemplified by our fraternity and sorority community at UAH is its commitment to community service and philanthropy. Every chapter supports both national and local organizations through these activities," said Dr. Regina Hyatt, dean of students and associate vice president of Student Affairs.

Hyatt said, in the past year UAH fraternity and sorority students have performed more than 17,000 hours of community service and raised nearly $70,000 for charitable organizations.

According to a 2013 annual report by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), 3.1 million college students dedicated more than 312 million hours of service to communities across the country. CNCS, a federal agency that supports and tracks volunteering in America valued the service at more than $6.6 billion dollars.

During the month of April, UAH students have planned numerous fundraising activities including events for cancer and arthritis research and treatment, and bone marrow donor drives.


UAH’s Department of Education adds graduate degree with concentration in autism spectrum disorders

Department of Education

The Department of Education at UAH now offers a Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Differentiated Instruction with a concentration in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), the first in the state of Alabama to do so.

"There are other autism-focused programs in Alabama, but UAH is the only one to offer a Master of Education in Differentiated Instruction with a concentration in autism," says Dr. Beth Quick, Chair of the Department of Education. "Earlier this month, we received final approval to welcome our first cohort of students into the program this summer."

The impetus for the ASD concentration came from a 2004 study concluding that the Huntsville area is home to a disproportionately high percentage of children with autism. That in turn prompted the Alabama legislature to create the Alabama Autism Task Force, whose findings included the following:

  • Alabama is behind the national average in identifying and diagnosing children with autism at an early age.
  • Increasing numbers of children with autism are enrolling in general education classrooms.
  • Training for teachers responsible for students with autism is essential.
  • There is a need for ongoing training and technical assistance for teachers.

"The result was an emphasis on the need for statewide teacher training," says Dr. Quick. "Data gathered from a needs-assessment survey of K-12 teachers and administrators in school systems located in the surrounding counties indicate there is definitely interest."