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Disney internship a magical experience for UAH student

Disney internship a magical experience for UAH student

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."

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South Carolina administrator named UAH provost

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Christine Curtis has been named provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at UAH, President Robert Altenkirch announced today.

Dr. Curtis is currently the senior vice provost and director of strategic planning at the University of South Carolina. She has been at South Carolina since 2007 and has also served as vice provost for faculty development. Curtis was a professor in the university's chemical engineering department.

"Dr. Curtis impressed everyone as a highly qualified academician who has the knowledge and experience to continue to grow UAH's outstanding academic reputation," said President Altenkirch. "She emerged from a very strong pool of candidates during our nationwide search as a leading candidate, and we're fortunate she has chosen to join our campus."

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UAH history professor earns prestigious DAR award and medal

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Dr. John Kvach, professor of history at UAH, will be awarded both the Historic Preservation Award and the Historic Preservation Medal by the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) at a luncheon being held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 6, by the Hunt's Spring DAR Chapter.

"My initial reaction to being nominated was excited, but I almost felt like there was no way I was going to win!" says Dr. Kvach. "You hear 'national award' and you don't really associate yourself with that. So for me it was a new feeling to think that someone thought enough of me to put my name forward."

But for Sue Royer, who completed the application for his nomination, Dr. Kvach was nothing short of the ideal candidate. "Through his volunteer community and state-wide historic preservation work, Dr. Kvach has promoted public awareness of the importance of preserving our heritage," says Royer, who is a member of the Hunt's Spring DAR Chapter and also serves as the Deputy Director of the Huntsville Madison County Public Library. "He has brought history to life through creative events and activities that appeal to all ages."

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UAH professor earns Distinguished Services Award for his work in India

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Dr. Jatinder (Jeet) N. D. Gupta was presented with the Distinguished Services Award by the Indian Subcontinent Decision Sciences Institute (ISDSI) at a ceremony held in Delhi, India, on Dec. 30, 2013. Dr. Gupta, who is an Eminent Scholar and Professor at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), also serves as the Associate Dean for Graduate and Sponsored Programs and the Director of the Integrated Enterprise Lab in the College of Business Administration at UAH.

"This award recognizes Dr. Gupta's long-term, sustained, and excellent contributions in the creation, fostering, and continued growth of the ISDSI," says Dr. Bhimaraya Metri, Dean Academic at the International Management Institute and President of ISDSI. "As such, there is no one else more deserving of this first Distinguished Services Award than him."

Dr. Ravi Kumar Jain, chair of the ISDSI Awards committee, agrees. "Dr. Gupta has served as the conference co-chair of each of the seven ISDSI conferences held in India," he says, "and has represented ISDSI throughout the world with commitment and excellence."

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Just who is Charger Blue? Shhh…we’ll never tell!

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You've probably seen Charger Blue at the games, cheering on the crowd and inspiring the home team. Or walking around campus, spreading school spirit and giving out high-fives. But have you ever wondered about the person behind that giant blue horse head? Just who is the mascot for UAH?

Generally, says Nikki Goode, director of Student Activities at UAH, Charger Blue is an upperclassman who is selected for his or her infectious enthusiasm - and willingness to take on such a, well, furry mantle. But while there is typically an audition process during cheerleading tryouts each April, that wasn't the case for former Charger Blue Zak Bandy.

"I was the only candidate!" Bandy says of his one-year stint. Nor did he have any experience beyond a high school career spent "decked out in face paint and cheering my team on to win." But that was enough to land him the gig he calls "nothing less than a positive experience."

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Local teacher visits Montserrat with help from UAH

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When Soufrière Hills volcano erupted in August of 1995, it was a major event that rendered half of the island of Montserrat unlivable. But for then 19-year-old University of Montevallo student Julie Falkner, its significance didn't register until nearly 20 years later.

That's when Falkner, now a sixth-grade science teacher at Simmons Middle School in Hoover, Ala., learned from a colleague that she was eligible to apply for a travel grant from the Success Through Academic Research (STAR) project.

"I've always wanted to visit a place that had at least one area that we study in our curriculum, but with limited money, it just wasn't feasible," says Falkner. "So when I heard about the STAR grant, I was ecstatic."

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UAH professor hopes to use epigenome editing to fight disease

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Growing up in Iowa, Dr. Eric Mendenhall says biology always "came really easily" to him. But other than becoming a doctor, which he wasn't interested in, he didn't know what to do with a degree in the field. That is, until he landed a job at a human genome lab as an undergraduate.

"I was just looking to see if research would interest me," he says. "But to see people analyze blood samples from patients with birth defects and figure out what genetic mutations they had - that seemed very proactive."

So Dr. Mendenhall became, in his words, a "lab rat." And once he completed his bachelor's degree from the University of Iowa, he decided to continue on, earning a Ph.D. in molecular biology from the University of Minnesota.

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UAH professor’s book gives historic precedent for importance of compromise

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It may seem like the government has never been less effective and less able to cooperate for the greater good of the people. But a new book by Dr. John F. Kvach shows that the political gridlock currently plaguing the nation has done so since its earliest days.

De Bow's Review: The Antebellum Vision of a New South - set during a time when the country was even more divided - reopens the debate on sectionalism and secession in the years leading up to the Civil War. But it does so through the eyes of one of the South's most controversial figures: journal editor and fire-eater James Dunwoody Brownson (J. D. B.) DeBow.

"I argue that De Bow was the most influential editor in the Antebellum South," says Dr. Kvach, professor of history at The University of Alabama in Huntsville and co-author of Images of America: Huntsville. "As early as the 1840s, he uses his journal to tell Southerners that they need to embrace commerce and industry."

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UAH mentoring award winner 
helps others as he was helped

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In his recent receipt of the National Role Model Faculty Mentor Award from Minority Access Inc., Dr. Emanuel Waddell sees a steady line of continuity and responsibility that spans high and low points in the campus history of The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). "Wilson Hall here on campus is named after Dr. Harold Wilson, who is deceased and was the dean of the College of Science," said Dr. Waddell, an associate professor of chemistry. "He mentored Dr. Adriel Johnson, and Adriel mentored me." Dr. Johnson, whose minority outreach efforts were well-known and prodigious, was one of three faculty members who lost their lives in a 2010 campus shooting.

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Formula for success: UAH engineering student juggles full-time employment, college schedules

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Robby Renz enjoys the rush of a challenge. UAH senior mechanical engineering student has "always enjoyed building things and taking things apart," from Legos as a youngster to cars and electronic devices as a teenager.

It wasn't only the dismantling and the reassembling of things that excited Renz - the why of how something worked sparked his imagination much more. "I have always enjoyed inventing products as well. I was originally interested in being an architect, which prompted me to do drafting in high school and college. I was not attracted to the low statistics of just being able to design modern type houses. This led me to a drafting job with a mechanical engineering consultant group in Huntsville. I immediately knew from the experience at that job, that this was what I wanted to do," Renz said.

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