- Published March 17, 2014
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Two UAH graduate students Joy Agee and Kenya Wallace, were recently selected to attend the prestigious Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) for college graduate and undergraduate students, March 21-23 in Arizona.
Agee (BS, MS Biological Science 2010), a doctoral candidate in Biotechnology, Science and Engineering, and Wallace (MS Chemistry 2012), a doctoral student in Materials Science, will attend the two-day conference courtesy of the UAH Office of Diversity. Agee was one of five black student leaders recently profiled in the Clinton Global Initiative national newsletter here:
- Published March 13, 2014
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Dr. Elizabeth Barnby didn't attend UAH so she could get a job; she already had one as an emergency room nurse. She attended so that she could learn more about Tyrosinemia type 1 (TT1), a rare and often fatal metabolic disorder that affects 1 in every 50,000 babies born in the U.S.
Dr. Barnby, it turns out, has two children with TT1. She's also now an assistant professor and the undergraduate program director of UAH's College of Nursing. But when she and her husband moved to Huntsville in 2009, all she wanted to do was help her son and daughter.
"At first I attended UAH so I could understand the research studies," she says. "But during the time that I was getting my nurse practitioner degree, both of my children became more stable and there were less questions about what I could do for them."
So she decided to turn her attention toward helping others instead, an effort she thought would be strengthened by first earning her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from UAH. "I thought if I had a doctorate that people would listen to me," says Dr. Barnby of her motivation.
- Published March 12, 2014
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If the life of a choral conductor doesn't sound very exciting, then you probably haven't met Dr. Erin Colwitz. An assistant professor in the Department of Music at UAH, Dr. Colwitz has traveled the world as part of her job.
Last year, for example, she went to South Africa to study Protestant church music in the post-apartheid era. And last month, she and her husband, retired conductor William Dehning, flew to Bangkok, Thailand, to headline the Chulalongkorn University Choral Festival.
"The nice thing about UAH, unlike other tier one research universities, is that they allow music faculty to have creative activities count toward research," says Dr. Colwitz. "And guest conducting, teaching clinics, and adjudicating competitions, especially international ones, is good for our dossier."
- Published March 10, 2014
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With the plethora of information available on the Internet these days, it can be difficult to figure out exactly what is and isn't good for pregnant women. But one nursing professor at UAH is determined to get some answers.
"Within the last 50 years, 80,000 chemicals were added to our community and only 13 are regulated, " says Dr. Azita Amiri, whose doctorate is in nursing science. "This means many chemicals have the potential to enter fetuses' bodies, so for my research proposal, I decided to measure formaldehyde exposure in pregnant women."
An organic compound most commonly used in pressed woods and building materials, formaldehyde made headlines in 2008 thanks to the high levels found in FEMA-issued trailers after Hurricane Katrina. And it has remained a public health concern since, given that the chemical is "in almost everything," says Dr. Amiri.
So she and her assistant, UAH nursing student Deena Zahran, set about collecting data from 140 healthy pregnant women from four of the city's OB/GYN clinics. "It was a big project," she says. "I interviewed the women, who agreed to wear a formaldehyde vapor monitor badge for 24 hours. And we collected urine samples to see if and how much formic acid – a metabolite of formaldehyde – was present."
- Published March 10, 2014
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Ed Smith,the director of the Vertical Lift Research Center of Excellence at Penn State University, will lead a seminar at UAH on Wednesday, March 19.
Smith's presentation is from 10 a.m., to 11:30 a.m., in the Olin B. King Technology Hall (room S-105). All government, industry, faculty, staff and students are invited to attend. The seminar is free, but due to limited seating registration is required: http://www.osp.uah.edu/registrations/RSESC02.php. The seminar is co-hosted by the UAH Rotorcraft Systems Engineering and Simulation Center, and the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department.
- Published March 05, 2014
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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 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."
As Gray explains, lateral gene transfer is the "movement of genes between organisms that aren't necessarily related to each other." Those familiar with superhero mythology will of course recall that Spider-Man, then just the lowly Peter Parker, gained his powers after being bitten by a radioactive spider.
- Published February 25, 2014
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When we think about technology in healthcare, what usually comes to mind is the ongoing effort to digitalize medical records. But as Drs. Karen Frith and Emil Jovanov can attest, the intersection of these two fields has so much more to offer.
Both have spent the last few years investigating the effect of long-term exposure to stress among nurses using a secure and stable telemonitoring system. But unlike Dr. Frith, who teaches in the College of Nursing at UAH, Dr. Jovanov teaches in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department of UAH's College of Engineering.
"It's pretty unusual to see faculty from the College of Nursing and the College of Engineering working together," says Dr. Frith. "But the things Emil does in his research, I can't do. And my research looks at nurses in the work environment, which he doesn't have access to. Together, we have been able to find innovative approaches to examine problems health care."
- Published February 07, 2014
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Dr. Nicholaos Jones, an associate professor at UAH, specializes in the philosophy of science. And next semester, he'll have a unique opportunity to further his research thanks to a visiting fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Philosophy of Science.
"I think it will be a good chance to get to know a lot of people interested in the philosophy of science and to develop my work," says Dr. Jones, who will spend the upcoming fall semester at the center. "My goal – a modest goal – is to complete a paper while I'm there."
Each year, the internationally renowned center selects just a handful of scholars from all over the world to pursue their research in the philosophy of science or closely related fields. As a visiting fellow, Dr. Jones will receive a supplementary stipend for living expenses in addition to office space, library access, and the opportunity to attend conferences, workshops, and talks.
- Published February 06, 2014
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Megan Harmon ('11 BS Mechanical Engineering), aka "Pistol," was nominated to the U.S. Paralympic Team to compete in the inaugural snowboard cross competition at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, in March.
The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) alumna said she acquired the nickname "Pistol" when she started college because of her competitive spirit. In her blog she writes, "Pistol represents something new ... now I'm Pistol because of my never give up, never surrender attitude."
In 2009, while riding her motorcycle, Harmon was hit by a car and was lucky that she lost only her left leg. Living up to her nickname, Harmon was walking unassisted with her first prosthetic leg within two weeks of the accident. Six months later, she returned to UAH and was back on the slopes snowboarding.
- Published January 29, 2014
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Morgan Gilley and her dad have always been close, so it's no surprise that she loves Walt Disney World® just as much as he does. "He's a Disneyphile," she says with a laugh, before gesturing sheepishly to her own outfit consisting of Mickey Mouse boots, Mickey Mouse earrings, and a Disney sweatshirt.
In fact, it was her dad who told Gilley about the Disney College Program during a family trip to the park in 1999. "I asked why some of the employees had universities shown on their name tags, and he told me about the program," she says. "Since then, it's been a lifetime's worth of wanting to work at Disney when I got to college."
Last semester, the wait was finally over. Gilley, a junior marketing major from The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), applied and was accepted to the program. And on August 19, she headed down to Orlando to begin her internship.
First up? Perfecting the Disney look! "You have to be in the Disney look 100% of the time at work," she says. "That means no tattoos showing, only one pair of earrings for women, no earrings for men – that kind of thing."