UAH College of Engineering celebrates eWeek 2014


The UAH College of Engineering will observe National Engineers Week February 16-22. The 2014 eWeek theme is "DiscoverE: Let's Make a Difference."

On Thursday, Feb. 20, the eWeek Banquet and Awards Ceremony honoring College of Engineering faculty and students will be held at the Jackson Conference Center (adjacent to HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology), located in Cummings Research Park. The coordinator of the event is Eric Grigorian (BSE EE '83, MSE EE '87), and IEEE Huntsville Section Chair. Each year one of the College of Engineering's member technical societies hosts the event. This year, IEEE will host the eWeek banquet. The purpose of eWeek is to call attention to the contributions to society that engineers make.

The keynote speaker for the banquet and awards ceremony is Tim Pickens, inventor, entrepreneur and engineer. His business, Pickens Innovations specializes in commercial space, technical product development and solutions, and business consulting for technical and space companies. He previously served as commercial space advisor and chief propulsion engineer for Huntsville-based Dynectics, and team leader for the Rocket City Space Pioneers Google Lunar X PRIZE Team.


Music professors partner for “four-hand” piano recital at UAH

Dr. Melody Ng

Dr. Melody Ng, assistant professor at UAH, will partner with Dr. Melissa Martiros, assistant professor at Martin Methodist College, for a piano duo recital on Thursday, Feb. 6, at 7:30 p.m. in Roberts Recital Hall on the UAH campus.

The evening event, which is free and open to the public, will include works by Rachmaninoff, Schubert, Ravel, and Piazzolla. Dr. Ng says, "the unique two-piano arrangement of the tangos by Astor Piazzolla makes them accessible to perform by pianists and able to create a different realm of sound from the standard tangos."

Dr. Ng, a native of Hong Kong, has previously served on the faculty at Lawrence University, Piano Odyssey Summer Camp, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She was the first-prize winner in numerous competitions, including Neale-Silva Young Artists' Competition, UW Beethoven Piano Competition, Irving Shain Woodwind and Piano Duo Competition, Badger Collegiate Competition, and MTNA (State & Regional) Young Artist Competition. Her appearances included broadcast performances on Wisconsin Public Radio and the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. Dr. Ng received her doctor of musical arts degree and master of music degree in piano performance and pedagogy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a double-degree in economics and piano performance from Lawrence University.


Nominations being accepted for UAH’s first Tech Trek

Tech Trek

This past October, UAH, in partnership with the Huntsville branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW), was named one of three new sites to host the next annual Tech Trek.

First launched in 1998 at Stanford University, TTech Trek is a weeklong residential science and math summer camp for rising eighth grade girls designed to develop interest, excitement, and self-confidence through hands-on activities that explore the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. Through Tech Trek, girls are immersed in a world that empowers and encourages them to think about themselves as future scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and computer specialists.

And now, with UAH's Tech Trek scheduled for July 20 – 25, nominations are currently being accepted from middle school science teachers across North Alabama and the state for girls with strong potential and an interest in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. (Camper selection criteria and student nomination forms can be found at


UAH hosts 2014 ASCA Scholars Bowl Competition

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UAH Honors College will host the 2014 Alabama Scholastic Competition Association (ASCA) District High School Scholars Bowl on Friday, February 7. This is the second consecutive year UAH has hosted the scholastic event.

The competition begins at 8 a.m., in the Chan Auditorium of the Business Administration Building. Nearly 20 high school teams composed of ninth through 12th grade students from North Alabama have signed up to compete in the scholastic competition. The purpose of the annual contest is to encourage high school students to compete academically with other schools in the state.

The ASCA Scholars' Bowl is a jeopardy-like game that is comprised of five rounds, that challenges students' memory and knowledge in the subjects of science, mathematics, history, arts, culture, geography and literature. When the ASCA moderator asks the questions, an individual student representing the school team must "buzz-in" to answer. Competing teams receive points for each correct answer, and the student group with the most points wins the round.


Charger Union design elements reflect UAH's traditions, values

Charger Union

It turns out UAH is a lot more than just "the rocket school." At least that's what Merrilee Hertlein, Senior Associate at Mackey Mitchell Architects, found out when she was tasked with branding the campus' new $25 million Charger Union.

"We thought we'd be doing a lot of rockets and solar systems - those kinds of things," says Hertlein. "But from the students we heard, 'Yes, that's our history. But that's not what defines us.' So we had two days of focus group meetings where we spoke with different groups about what makes UAH special."

The answer? Lots of things! In fact, she says, all you have to do is look around the Charger Union and you'll see plenty of design elements that reflect the traditions and values that the university and its students hold dear.



Winners of UAH’s first Project Candy Land competition crowned


On Saturday, Jan. 11, school-age kids and parents from North Alabama gathered in the Engineering Building at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) for the first-ever Project Candy Land competition. The goal? To build a 3-D structure made out of 100% edible candy materials using the principles of science and engineering.

The contest was conceptualized and planned by two area students, Anish and Niam Abeysiriwardena, with Dr. Krishnan Chittur, professor of chemical and materials engineering at UAH, serving as the event's faculty advisor.

Ultimately, 18 aspiring young engineers rose to the challenge, presenting their creations to a panel of judges, who awarded points for stability, creativity, detail, density, and presentation. Among them were six seniors from UAH's Department of Chemical & Materials Engineering (Bryan Call, Alaine Dempsey, Ragan Haymon, Vivian Nguyen, Jonathon Savoy, and Jennifer Thomas), four professional engineers from General Electric (David Pepper, Orbin Dempsey, John Kent, and Dot Hall), and chemical engineer and Huntsville newcomer Solveig Irvine.


Breathing New Life into the Nursing Building

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When the Nursing Building was first erected on the campus of UAH in 1976, it was a state-of-the-art edifice with a contemporary look and enviable banks of floor to ceiling windows.

And some four decades later, its distinctive exterior still holds up. But its interior, says Dr. C. Fay Raines, Dean of the College of Nursing, falls further behind in meeting the needs of the university's nursing faculty and students with every passing year.

"Enrollment was expected to be 250 students when the building was constructed," says Dr. Raines. "And now we're up 1,079! So we're out of space at this point."


UAH American Shakespeare Tour 2014 to premier Othello


For the first time, William Shakespeare's Othello, will be performed on the campus of UAH on Friday, Feb. 7, by the American Shakespeare Center (ASC).

The ASC will also perform two other Shakespeare plays, 1 Henry IV and The Merry Wives of Windsor. All performances and lectures will be presented in the UAH University Center Exhibit Hall beginning at 7 p.m. University faculty members, Dr. Jeffrey Nelson, Dr. Daniel Schenker and Dr. Jerry Mebane, will present a free pre-show lecture at 6 p.m., each night.

"The American Shakespeare Center is a nationally-renowned company, known for their use of Renaissance stage conventions: fast-paced dialogue, minimalist sets, and especially 'universal lighting' - where not only does the audience see the actors, but the actors can see the audience (allowing for interaction) and audience members can see one another (creating a shared experience)," said Dr. Jeffrey Nelson, associate professor of English at UAH. "Even in the tragedies, the ASC finds the moments of humor created by Shakespeare and thus creates a wonderful tension."


UAH to host third annual student leadership conference


Nationally recognized motivational speaker and conference trainer Tracy Knofla (pronounced K-naw-flaw) will be the keynote presenter at the third annual UAH Student Leadership Conference, on Saturday, Jan. 25.

The conference "Explore the Possibilities," is free for all participants, including those from surrounding universities and colleges. All conference events will be held in the Shelby Center for Science and Technology. The UAH Student Life Office sponsors the annual event.

Knofla's presentation will be from 11:15 a.m., to noon. She will host a question and answer session immediately after her talk. Additional conference offerings include workshops, lectures and a special track of presentations specifically for members of the UAH fraternity and sorority community.


UAH receives the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Campus USA certification


Thanks to the efforts of Robert Redmon, director of Grounds Management at UAH, and Haley Hix, director of the Chargers for Sustainability, UAH is now officially a Tree Campus USA®. The certification will be officially recognized with a tree planting ceremony at 10:30 a.m. on the greenway on UAH's first annual Arbor Day, Feb. 27 th.

"Trees are literally the backbone of the UAH landscape - they are the memories of our past and the framework for the future of those who will come after us," says Redmon, a tree enthusiast whose initiatives over the last 27 years include diversifying the number of tree species on campus and implementing a water-saving fertigation plan. "So this recognition from the Arbor Day Foundation is very rewarding. It is something that UAH deserves, and with it, we can continue to protect, preserve, and promote our campus' urban forest for future generations of students."