UAH students recipients of prestigious ALEPSCoR Graduate Research Scholars Program awards


Six doctoral students attending The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) recently received prestigious awards from the Alabama Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (ALEPSCoR) Graduate Research Scholars Program (GRSP). A total of 36 graduate students from seven universities across the state of Alabama are round nine GRSP awardees, receiving a total of $849,370.

"Part of being a graduate student is working with a mentor to learn how to be a future faculty member or researcher, and proposal writing is an important part of that process," said Dr. David Berkowitz, Dean, UAH School of Graduate Studies. "We are very excited these students are able to demonstrate their ability to write proposals that are funded. This will enhance their career opportunities and is a testament to the quality of the mentorship students have with our faculty."

Each of the six UAH graduate students wrote a proposal for external research funding in a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) discipline. The student awards are being funded for the fall 2014 academic year. Students will work with their faculty advisors, during the award period. Additionally, students are expected to make formal presentations of their GRSP research findings at nationally recognized technical meetings and/or an Alabama EPSCoR meeting.


UAH history student sheds new light on divorce in antebellum South

John O'Brien

John O'Brien wasn't expecting to win the award for best paper at the Phi Alpha Theta Alabama Regional Meeting in Tuscaloosa last month. But that's exactly what the history major and brand-new graduate of The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) did with his presentation on migration and divorce in antebellum North Alabama.

An Alabama native, O'Brien first became interested in the topic while taking Women in U.S. History with Dr. Christine Sears. "I brought up the fact that Alabama has strange divorce laws and she suggested I look into it," he says. So he did. "I was like, I'm going to drink a beer and look at our first constitution!" he laughs.

What he learned from that 1819 document was that divorce in Alabama at the time required approval from two-thirds of the state legislature – "a leftover from British precedent," says O'Brien. It was a complicated, expensive, and time-consuming process, and as a result, he says, "divorce was the rarest form of dissolving a marriage" in the region.


UAH senior lands paid internship with NASCAR


It looks like this summer may be a bit of "Days of Thunder" for Jessica Sisk, a senior mechanical engineering student at UAH, now that she has landed a paid internship with NASCAR.

"I have been searching for a NASCAR internship since I began my college career," Sisk says. "I found this one while I was looking through the employment tab on the NASCAR website. I applied through the NASCAR Diversity Summer Internship Program on the NASCAR website. If it weren't for the good Lord above and my friends and family supporting me, I would not be in the position to even qualify for this job."

A 2010 graduate of Skyline High School in Jackson County, Sisk will spend her summer working with NASCAR Corporation Headquarters in Daytona Beach, Fla. She'll intern as part of its marketing team for the Weekly/Touring Racing series, which includes the East and West K&N Pro Series and various dirt-track series.



Dr. Young elected to AUVSI board

Dr. Suzy Young

Dr. Virginia (Suzy) Young, director of The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) Office for Proposal Development, has been elected to the board of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI).

Dr. Young will represent the academic community to the organization and will be key in promoting and focusing national educational and research activities in technologies that support this area.

AUVSI is the world's largest non-profit organization devoted exclusively to advancing the unmanned systems and robotics community. Serving members from government organizations, industry and academia, AUVSI is committed to fostering, developing and promoting unmanned systems and robotic technologies. AUVSI members support defense, civil and commercial sectors, and the board is responsible for governing the advancement of the unmanned systems and robotics community through education, advocacy and leadership.


UAH's professor "distinguished speaker" at legal writing conference

Dr. Clarke Rountree

Dr. Clarke Rountree, Professor and Chair of the Department of Communication Arts at UAH, was the distinguished speaker at this year's Southeast Regional Legal Writing Conference held April 25-26 in Gulfport, Fla.

The conference, hosted by Stetson University College of Law, offered workshops to law professors on preparing students to be "practice-ready" and developing writing and research skills for the 21st century. Discussions highlighted developments in legal pedagogy, advances in advocacy, and theory on teaching the digital millennial lawyer.

Dr. Rountree, who was recently named editor of a new series on rhetoric and law, spoke to conference attendees about the connection between rhetorical theory and legal writing in a lecture entitled "Legal Argument as Motive Construction."


UAH's Adam Powell named Honors College student of the year


For the Powell family attending UAH has become a tradition. Four of Adam Powell's five siblings have attended UAH. Powell graduated on May 4, with a bachelor's of science degree in chemistry, and he was also honored as the UAH Honors College Student of the Year.

Born in Huntsville, Powell attended Covenant Christian Academy. He balances academic endeavors and extracurricular activities with skill and ease. He played soccer for eight years, achieving the rank of captain. Powell has competed on math teams and in numerous academic competitions, often receiving the highest grade or ranking. Additionally, he received a Silver Service Medal for helping to clear debris in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina, and repairing homes of senior citizens.


Three of UAH’s own elected to represent state’s nurse practitioners

American Association of Nurse Practitioners

Katie Rhodes, Director of Student Health Services UAH, will soon begin her stint as the newly elected state representative to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).

"The election was in March and I found out in early April that I won," says Rhodes, who is also pursuing her doctor of nursing practice degree (DNP) at UAH. "The national conference is in Nashville this June and the term starts at the conclusion of that meeting and runs for two years."

A long-time member of the AANP, Rhodes never considered pursuing a leadership position until she was approached by the outgoing state representative – and fellow College of Nursing colleague – Dr. Lori Lioce. "She asked if it was something I'd be interested in doing," says Rhodes.


UAH education student Taylor Whisenant graduates with top honors


Before Taylor Childers Whisenant began attending UAH, she laid the groundwork for her academic future. The Limestone County native and West Limestone High School graduate turned down several award offers from other universities - deciding to accept a scholarship from UAH, and declaring a major in civil engineering. As a high school student, Whisenant graduated with a 4.26 grade point average and actively participated in the Student Government Association, Scholars Bowl, and more importantly The FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Program. FIRST, a national program was designed by inventor Dean Kamen to inspire school age youngsters interest and participation in science and technology.


Three UAH professors retire with nearly 100 years of service combined

UAH Teachers Retire

As the newly minted graduates of UAH make their way out into the world this summer, so too will three slightly more seasoned members of the UAH community.

Drs. Daniel Schenker, Julie Early, and David Neff, all professors in the Department of English, are retiring – and with almost 100 years of service between them. "It's a natural progression," says Dr. Neff. "The baton has been passed."

Here the longest of the three, Dr. Neff received an offer from UAH shortly after graduating from the University of Illinois. "It was supposed to be a one-year job but it turned out to be a 35-year job," he says. "And I was going to stay wherever the job was since we'd just had a baby that May!"



UAH communication professor to edit series on rhetoric and law

Dr. Clarke, professor and chair of the Department of Communication Arts at UAH

Dr. Clarke Rountree is no stranger to publishing. The professor and chair of the Department of Communication Arts at UAH has already written five books and numerous articles. But now he's taking on another role: series editor of "Rhetoric, Law, & the Humanities" (University of Alabama Press).

"I made my pitch by saying that we have a critical mass of scholars ready to write in this area," says Dr. Rountree, who is also a UAH alumnus. "Most series about rhetoric tend to be directed more toward the communication field, but I'm specifically trying to bring people from law and people from communications together."