Leading expert in systems engineering design process to join UAHuntsville Center for System Studies

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (July 12, 2011) – Dr. Paul Collopy, internationally recognized leader in the design process for complex systems, will join the Center for System Studies at The University of Alabama in Huntsville as Deputy Director.

Collopy will be responsible for growing and managing the center’s diverse research portfolio and innovative partnerships with industry, academia, government, and non-profit organizations. In addition to overseeing the daily operations, he will also support the creation of the center’s first affiliated Ph.D. class.

 “We are very fortunate to have Paul as part of our team at the Center for System Studies,” said Mike Griffin, director for the center. “His unique expertise and leadership will help the center realize its mission of creating a vibrant community of systems thinkers dedicated to advancing the practice of systems engineering.”

Collopy brings to UAHuntsville more than 20 years experience in the development of the design process for large systems. He most recently served as the executive director of the Value-Driven Design Institute, a non-profit research and education institute dedicated to developing new approaches to the design of complex systems. He is also the co-founder of DFM Consulting, which develops value-centric design methods, value models, and cost models to support complex product design and technology management. The company’s clients include Boeing, GE, Lockheed Martin, and several government agencies and offices.  

Contact: Laurie Provin
Office: 256-824-4419

UAHuntsville alumnus Paul Ruffin recipient of prestigious Presidential Meritorious Rank Award

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (July 11, 2011) — The U.S. Department of State has announced that University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAHuntsville) alumnus Paul B. Ruffin (’82 MS, ’86 PhD) received the prestigious 2010 Presidential Meritorious Rank Award, approved by President Barack Obama, for his accomplishments and service as a research scientist in the Department of the Army.
Ruffin and other meritorious award recipients from across the nation were honored by the Senior Executives Association at the group’s 26th annual black tie Distinguished Rank Awards Banquet on Wednesday, June 29 at the Pentagon. The Senior Executives Association is a professional organization for career federal executives.  
As a senior research scientist at the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research Center at Redstone Arsenal, he provides technical leadership and direction for research and development programs in the Micro- and Nano-scale technology area to achieve improvements in system performance over military environments, reduction in weapons components size and cost, and enhanced reliability.
Ruffin’s research in fiber optics, Micro Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS), and nanotechnology has resulted in seven patent awards, four book chapters, and numerous peer-reviewed journal articles. His latest patent “Nano Smart Needle for Precision Sensing and Treatment that Promotes Healing in Living Tissue,” revealed a noninvasive technique for treating cancer patients. He is the co-editor of a textbook Fiber Optics Sensors: Second Edition. 
In July 2003, Ruffin was promoted to the highest rank for a research scientist – senior research scientist achievable in government service, making him the first African-American to ever attain such status in the Army. Ruffin earned a master’s and Ph.D., in physics from UAHuntsville. He also received a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from Alabama A&M University. 
Ruffin, who is a member of the Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers, has received numerous prestigious awards, including the 2011 Black Engineer of the Year STEM Minorities in Research Science's (MiRS) Professional Achievement Emerald Award, the Army Research and Development Achievement Award from the Secretary of the Army in 2003, Black Engineer of the Year: Special Recognition, Technologist of the Year Award 2011, Top Ten Army Materiel Command Personnel of the Year Award, Material Acquisition/ Technology Award from the American Defense Preparedness Association, Recognition for a Canadian Patent, and many other prestigious awards.
Each year, the President recognizes and celebrates a small group of career senior executives and senior career employees with the Presidential Rank Award. Recipients of this prestigious award are strong leaders, professionals, and scientists who achieve results and consistently demonstrate strength, integrity, industry, and a relentless commitment to excellence in public service.
Award winners are chosen through a rigorous selection process. Their agency heads, evaluated by boards comprised of private citizens, and approved by the President, nominates them. The evaluation criteria focus on leadership and results.
As a Meritorious Rank Award recipient, Ruffin will receive 20 percent of his rate of annual basic pay. All award recipients will receive a framed certificate signed by the President.
For more information
Joyce Anderson-Maples, (256) 824-2101

Nursing faculty member Kristen Herrin selected for distinguished teaching award

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (July 8, 2011) - Kristen Herrin, a clinical assistant professor in the College of Nursing at The University of Alabama in Huntsville, has been selected for the university-wide Distinguished Teaching Award.

kristen herrin

Ms. Herrin, MSN, RN, holds a master's in nursing administration and is currently a Doctor of Nursing Practice candidate at Samford University with an expected graduate date of May 2012.

She developed a peer-to-peer mentoring program, embraces new ways of learning, and has implemented high fidelity nursing simulation into her professional practice in nursing course. She demonstrates professionalism and care by individually mentoring students, collaborating with other faculty, and sharing her sense of humor thus enhancing the academic learning culture.

This award is given to Ms. Herrin because she has shown exceptional performance in teaching and service in her body of performance over the past 10 years of service. The award carries a $3,000 annual raise.

Cynthia Gramm named chair of UAHuntsville department of management and marketing

Huntsville, Ala. (June 26, 2011) - Cynthia L. Gramm was recently named chairperson of the department of management and marketing in the College of Business Administration at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAHuntsville). A faculty member since 1998, she also holds the rank of professor of management and marketing. "I am honored to be selected as chair of the Department of Management and Marketing. I look forward to working with my colleagues to pursue strategic initiatives selected by the department and college," said Dr. Cynthia L. Gramm. She earned a Ph.D., an A.M. (postgraduate) degree in labor and industrial relations, and an undergraduate degree in home economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Gramm also earned a master's degree from Michigan State University in child development.

Her academic experience includes interim department chair and associate professor of management and marketing at UAHuntsville, College of Administrative Science graduate faculty; assistant professor in the department of collective bargaining, labor law, and labor history, New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University, (Ithaca, New York), and assistant professor in the department of industrial relations and human resources, College of Business Administration, University of Iowa, (Iowa City, Iowa). Gramm's teaching interests include government regulation of employment relations, labor relations management, human resource management, and strategic human resource management. Her book chapters and research articles have been published in several top journals including "Remedy-Seeking Responses to Wrongful Dismissal: Comparing the Similarity-Attraction and Similarity-Betrayal Paradigms, International Journal of Conflict Management; "The Relationship between Competitive Strategy and a Firm's Reliance on Long-Term Employment Contracts," Korean Journal of Industrial Relations, and "Difficult Choices: Crossing the Picket Line during the 1987 National Football League Strike," Journal of Labor Economics.

Gramm's continuing research projects include "Remedy-Seeking Responses to Discrimination," "Complementarities Between a Firm's Long-Term Employment Commitments and Other Human Resource Management Practices," and "Determinants of Team Performance."

For more information
Joyce Anderson-Maples
(256) 824-2101


UAHuntsville English Department to offer fall Creative Writing course

            HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (June 18, 2011) — Poet Anna Lowe Weber will teach a creative writing class this fall at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAHuntsville). 

       The UAHuntsville English Department will offer Poetry Writing (EH 411/511) on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30 p.m. to 6:50 p.m. The class will be centered on a writing workshop. Students will share and comment on each other's work, in addition to discussing poetic concepts such as imagery, tone, form, and metaphor. Also the students will read the work of various poets including James Wright, Sylvia Plath, Elizabeth Bishop, and Mary Oliver.

       Weber, an accomplished poet is currently a part-time lecturer in the English Department at Penn State, Altoona. Weber holds an MFA from Purdue University in Creative Writing. She will join UAHuntsville’s English Department in the fall and teach creative writing.

       Two new poems by Weber A Man Dies in the South. A Widow Mourns and Of Course the Dead Are Hungry were recently published in the Spring 2011 edition of The 2 River View. Her works have also been published in The Cimarron Review, Colorado Review, Iowa Review, Green Mountains Review and the Redivider, and Verse Daily.

     She is the wife of Dr. Ryan Weber, who will also join the UAHuntsville English Department in the fall as Director of Business and Technical Writing. He will teach a variety of business and technical writing related courses. Ryan Weber earned his Ph.D. from Purdue University and is now at Penn State, Altoona.  

For more information
Joyce Anderson-Maples, (256) 824-2101

Graduate is making his mark with

richard smith

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (Oct. 3, 2011) - Richard Allen Smith has earned the right to speak out on issues affecting American veterans. He has walked in their boots and is passionate about his beliefs involving those who have served their country in the military.

That passion and on-the-ground perspective has made Smith, a recent UAHuntsville graduate, a turn-to mouthpiece for the 24-hour television anchors searching for an authority on veteran's issues.

Smith, 26, has made recent appearances on MSNBC and CNN, among other news outlets, speaking on the behalf of the non-partisan The organization advocates for veterans from all eras, but has a focus on conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.


John Christy gets award for science research, education


HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (Oct. 12, 2011) - Dr. John R. Christy, professor of atmospheric science and the director of the Earth System Science Center at The University of Alabama in Huntsville, has been named the winner of the 2011 Quest For Excellence Award by Sci-Quest Hands-on Science Center.

Sci-Quest focuses its awards on science research and education and the 2011 awards recognize members of the scientific community for outstanding science research and education and who use the principles of science in pursuit of exploring and increasing our understanding of the world and universe.

Dr. John R. Christy, has conducted research into global climate issues since 1987. UAHuntsville's Earth System Science Center is one of the largest and most productive research centers in the nation, according to the National Science Foundation and the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Dr. Christy is also Alabama's state climatologist, and has served on five National Research Council panels or committees and has performed research funded by NASA, NOAA, DOE, DOT and the State of Alabama.

In 2003 he served on the panel that drafted the American Geophysical Union's official statement on climate change.

The 2011 Quest for Excellence Awards will be presented on Oct. 21 at the Mad Scientist Ball, an annual fundraising event to benefit Sci-Quest. Tickets to the Mad Scientist Ball are on sale for $50 per person. To purchase tickets, call 256-837-0606, ext. 252 or email

For more information about the Quest for Excellence Awards, visit

For more information,
contact Ray Garner