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."


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:


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.


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."


Lancers announce newest additions for 2014-2015


The Lancers welcomed their newest group of members for the 2014-2015 school year, a milestone that comes on the heels of their recent 40th anniversary celebration.

Made up of current students at UAH, the Lancers serve as de facto ambassadors for the university. Each semester, they donate at least 15 hours of their time - and often much more - to give campus tours; assist with Commencement, Convocation, and formal events held at President Robert Altenkirch's home; and promote a positive image of the University on campus and in the community.

And that's not all, says Taralyn Caudle, assistant director of alumni relations and Lancers staff advisor. "Their job is to provide information about the University to visitors and guests," she says, "but they also get to network with administrators, community leaders, and sometimes public officials, utilizing their etiquette and leadership skills."

As for the Lancers' newest additions, she continues, they're in good hands with the group's veterans. "They really are some of the most impressive students I've come across," says Caudle. "Not only are they all academically stellar, but they are also very dedicated – and frankly, run pretty darn efficient early-morning meetings."

To learn more about the Lancers, visit UAH Lancers.


ChargerCon kicks off April 4 in the Charger Union


ChargerCon is back! Held each semester at UAH, this year's gaming convention will take place April 4 and 5 in the Charger Union (CU) and will include tournaments for Brawl, Melee, Project M, Magic, Minecraft, Hearthstone, Pokémon, and League of Legends.

"ChargerCon is the biggest event on campus," says UAH junior Kyle Kosic, a co-founder of Student-Run e-Sports, the organization responsible for ChargerCon. "And for the first time it's going to be in the CU, so it's going to be a lot more centralized. There will be a large free-play area in the main lobby, with games in the conference rooms."

Another change this year, he continues, is the amount and variety of sponsors, such as title sponsor TeSPA (the eSports Association). "TeSPA is our big one this year and they're coming from Texas," says Kosic. "They are sending a couple of people out to represent TeSPA to help us grow and to promote their own organization in the area."

That makes ChargerCon not just a great place to play – or watch – the tournaments and other games, but also a great place to network. "E-sports has really grown over the past few years, and there are careers available for people," says Kosic. "And not just players but marketing, communications, management – there is a whole new genre of jobs we can filter into."

In fact, some of UAH's alumni have already gone into the field, with more than a handful working at local gaming media and technology company Curse Inc. And even those who have pursued other career fields, like recent graduate and former SRES member Nick Hanson, continue to remain involved with SRES and ChargerCon.


Three UAH students win awards at Mid-South Psychology Conference

Mid-South Psychology Conference

Cassandra Baldwin, Monique Whitaker, and Kelly Arnold, all psychology majors from UAH, attended the Mid-South Psychology Conference held March 1 at Christian Brothers University in Memphis. And all three came back with an award for their efforts.

Master's student and Samson, Ala., native Baldwin won first place for her poster presentation about how music affects the emotional and physical response system to pictures. Senior and Powell, OH, native Whitaker won second place for her paper presentation on the psychological ownership of cancer. And senior and Huntsville native Arnold won honorable mention for her poster presentation about the way teenaged girls discuss sexual activity on social media.

"The Olympics were just wrapping up at the time, and I felt like we'd done a gold, silver, bronze sweep," says assistant professor of psychology Dr. Aurora Torres of the students' success. Fortunately, the three had had a little practice, which helped. "I teach them experimental psychology and, as part of the class, they have a poster and oral presentation," she says. "So they know how to put one together."

But even if the outcome hadn't been victorious, there is always benefit to be gained by attending. "Regardless of if they win, they get that experience," she continues. And that's something that all department faculty, not just Dr. Torres, encourage. "We have a good record of mentoring students to develop a sound record, and one way to do that is for undergrads to compete against each other by presenting at conferences."

Indeed, all three students say that they took away more than just their award from the conference. "It gave me a lot of confidence, and I'm more sure I'm on the right path," says Whitaker, referring to her research. "The feedback I received from the judges and the student questions are changing how I am doing my next project."


UAH Alumni Association to host Leadercast 2014


Community business leaders can access the knowledge and experience of world-renowned leaders by attending Leadercast® live simulcast event at UAH on Friday, May 9, presented by The UAH Alumni Association.

The Leadercast event is broadcast LIVE from Atlanta, Ga., to hundreds of sites around the world, including UAH. This year's speaker lineup includes:

  • Andy Stanley, Leadership author and communicator
  • Malcolm Gladwell, Journalist and best-selling author of The Tipping Point and Outliers
  • Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel laureate & human rights activist live from Cape Town, South Africa
  • Randall Wallace, Screenwriter, director, producer & songwriter (Braveheart, Secretariat)
  • Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP
  • Laura Schroff, Former ad sale executive and best-selling author of An Invisible Thread
  • Dr. Henry Cloud, Clinical psychologist and leadership consultant
  • Simon Sinek, Best-selling author of Start with Why and leadership expert
  • Laura Bush, First Lady of the United States (2001-2009) via exclusive video interview

Last year, over 100,000 leaders from 14 countries attended Leadercast. Now, in its 15th year, this full day, experiential conference is on track to reach it's largest audience to date.