- Published November 25, 2013
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The Christmas season will have a service oriented theme for student members of UAH Hispanic Student Organization (HSO) this year.
The newly formed group recently organized a service trip to Puerto Rico to reach out to high school students in Hispanic communities to promote college education. In December, six students and one faculty advisor will travel to the island. "We will share our college experiences with potential UAH students and discuss the importance of obtaining a college degree," said Maria Emma Torres, president of the HSO.
Torres, a junior at UAH, is double majoring in chemistry and biology. A graduate of East Limestone High School, she was born in Huntsville and raised in the Harvest community. Her parents are native Puerto Ricans, and the family settled in North Alabama after her father was hired at NASA.
- Published November 25, 2013
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When Huntsville native Mary Katherine Smartt Atnip headed to New York City to try out for the Radio City Rockettes in May of 2007, she wasn't expecting anything to come out of it. After all, she was just one of 800 dancers, almost all of whom were older than her.
"I'd heard it takes several times, so I was just there for the experience," says Atnip, who at the time was just 18 years old. But after she successfully passed the tap section and the jazz section, she began to gain confidence. "I kept making it through the cuts," she says. "At that point I was starting to think I was crazy!"
Eventually, the two-day auditions weeded the total number down to a group of just 30 women, among them the shocked Atnip. "I made it through the end," she says. "Then they measured every square inch for costumes and said, we'll call you." Two months later that call came: Atnip was officially a Rockette.
- Published November 22, 2013
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The buzzer is about to go off, and with a Chargers' victory on the line, there's guard Josi Saunders driving toward the basket! Or is it Josi? A closer look reveals that it's actually her identical twin sister and fellow Chargers guard Dina Saunders.
That kind of confusion occurs more often than you think it would at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), whose Athletic Department is home to not one, not two, not three, but four sets of twins!
"I've never heard of anything like it. It's really a coincidence more than planning on our part," says K. Taylor Flatt, UAH's Sports Information Director. "We're just lucky to have so many great athletes, related or not."
So just who makes up this quartet of Charger twins? Let's find out…
- Published November 20, 2013
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When Ashley Cain enrolled in UAH, she broke with family tradition; most of her family members had attended the same, large, out-of-state university. But the Scottsboro native says she "really liked the idea of going to a school with a smaller student body."
That decision has certainly paid off over the last few years. Cain, a political science major, has become an active presence on the campus, participating in several extracurricular activities. Her latest endeavor is a stint as the president of the Political Science Club, which was recently brought back into existence at UAH.
Cain says the club encourages students to be more involved in the political process and helps them make informed decisions when they do get involved. Yet despite what its name may imply, it is open to all students regardless of major.
- Published November 18, 2013
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High-seas misadventure, pirates, ransoms! Those may sound like the plot points of Tom Hank's latest blockbuster movie "Captain Phillips." But according to American Slaves and African Masters: Algiers and the Western Sahara, 1776-1820, American sailors have faced peril at the hands of Africans who sought to capture them since the nation's earliest days.
"Sailing was one of the better paid jobs at the time, but it was really dangerous," says author Dr. Christine Sears, associate professor of history at The University of Alabama in Huntsville. "One sailor, John Foss, was captured in 1793 and released in 1796, only to have his ship pulled over by privateers another five times before making it home!"
- Published November 15, 2013
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There's food to eat, and then there's food for the soul. But as of this past fall, Lisa Schneider is helping to provide both to the less fortunate members of the Huntsville community through her MusicBridge initiative.
Schneider, an oboist and adjunct professor of music at UAH, originally conceived of the idea while volunteering for Manna House, a Huntsville-based public charity that provides daily food assistance to those in need.
"The thought came into my head that it would be really nice if the people waiting to be served had some music to listen to," she says. "Then I thought, perhaps we can make that happen!" And who better to ask for help than UAH's own students?
- Published November 14, 2013
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When Dr. Jan Davis was growing up in Huntsville, Ala., in the 1960s, there simply were no women astronauts. So it wasn't something UAH alumna ever considered becoming.
But in 1978, when the first female candidates were selected to be part of NASA's Astronaut Corps, Dr. Davis began to rethink her career path. And in 1984, while working as an aerospace engineer at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) and attending UAH, she applied to be an astronaut.
"I think having a graduate degree - and my pilot's license at that point - it just seemed like I might have the qualifications, so I might as well give it a shot," she says. "I knew it was a long shot but I realized it could happen. It was a possibility."
Needless to say, Dr. Davis was not chosen from among the 5,000 people who applied that year, but she was selected three years later. And since becoming an astronaut in 1987, she has logged more than 673 hours in space over three flights: STS-47 (1992), STS-60 (1994), and STS-85 (1997).
- Published November 13, 2013
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Dr. Derrick Smith, an assistant professor of education at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), has been named Faulkner University's 2013 Alumnus of the Year.
Smith recently won a National Science Foundation grant, in partnership with CANnect and gh LLC, to help improve the way in which the visually impaired interact with their math teachers. He is also co-author of the MathBuilders series, a supplemental math program for Braille users in kindergarten through third grade.
"Derrick embodies the mission and heart of Faulkner University. He has dedicated his career to service to others and has served those around him in extraordinary ways," said Adam Donaldson, Faulkner's director of alumni relations. "We are pleased to honor Derrick as this year's Alumnus of the Year."
- Published November 12, 2013
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When it comes to expertise in everything from foreign languages to physiology, The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) has the market cornered. So it's no surprise that when Rocket City officials needed help, they called on UAH civil engineering professor Dr. Michael Anderson for assistance.
At issue was a recent traffic study to determine whether the construction of a new 24-hour Wal-Mart on Drake Avenue east of Memorial Parkway would negatively impact traffic flow at the proposed location. The conclusion was that it would not, but residents were not convinced.
"The big concern was that Wal-Mart paid the consultants to do the original study, and that the same consultants have done the previous 30+ Wal-Mart studies in the state of Alabama," says Dr. Anderson. "So the residents were nervous there was some sort of bias; they wanted someone who could speak more freely."
- Published November 07, 2013
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As a child, Myriam "Mimi" Brasseur grew up in a multi-lingual household in which her mother, who grew up in France, taught French. "I heard French spoken from the time I was very young," says Brasseur, who is now a senior double-majoring in French and Communications at UAH.
That early start soon proved to be the beginning of what would become a life-long interest in languages. When Brasseur was 8 years old, her military family moved to Belgium, where Brasseur began speaking Belgian French. "It's just a little different from classic French," she says. And several years later, another move to the French- and Arabic-speaking country of Tunisia prompted her to add Arabic to her repertoire.