Non-traditional student at UAH overcomes incredible obstacles to help others

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Non-traditional students are not uncommon at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), whether they're veterans returning to complete their degree after a tour of duty or parents who have taken time off to raise their children before finishing their education.

But senior psychology major Deanna Nicholas, who will graduate with honors in May, is perhaps one of UAH's most non-traditional students. A high-school dropout and runaway at age 16, Nicholas became addicted to alcohol and drugs before turning her life around ten years ago.

"I got sober to rescue my daughter, Heather, who was 15 and following in my footsteps," says Nicholas, a native of West Palm Beach, Fla. "I said, no more. She deserves better." Sadly, however, her recovery came too late. Heather passed away at age 18 after her own struggle with drugs and domestic violence.


For one IS graduate student, real-world experience leads to real-world job


Jennifer Palm might make the best case for why kids should listen to their mothers. "All through high school, my mom was like, 'Take a computer class, you're going to love it!'" says Palm. "But I was a stubborn child, and I went to college to get a degree in marketing."

It was only later, during an internship in which she learned how to code a website using HTML, that Palm realized her mom was right - she was a perfect fit for the information technology field. "Programming was my favorite thing," she says. "So I took a Visual Basic class and loved it!"


UAH's Belinda Ong to receive ISC, U.S. Department of State Spirit of Diplomacy Award


Belinda Ong, Director of Reference and Information Services at UAH M. Louis Salmon Library, will be honored on Oct. 22, with the International Services Council (ISC) of Alabama's 2013 Spirit of Diplomacy Award. ISC is sponsored in part, by the U.S. Department of State.

Dr. Ong will receive the award during a luncheon ceremony in Birmingham. She is being recognized for her work as president of the International Society of Huntsville (ISH). Ong is a key charter member and co-founder of the organization. She was instrumental in planning the organization's annual International Festival of North Alabama, recently hosted on the UAH campus.


Huntsville native elected president of Alpha Tau Omega’s UAH chapter

Kenneth ThroopTN

Kenny Throop, a senior marketing major at UAH, continued a family tradition by deciding to enroll in classes at UAH. "Both of my parents graduated from UAH," the Huntsville native explains. "That fact combined with multiple other reasons made UAH the best option for me."

During his freshman year, Throop became involved with Theta Pi, the UAH chapter of Alpha Tau Omega (ATO), a fraternity dedicated to the improvement of collegiate men on campus. He enjoyed it so much that he decided to run for treasurer his sophomore year.

"I wasn't initially planning to run for such a big position so soon, but one of my ATO brothers convinced me to go for it," says Throop. He won the position, and went from managing a bank account that usually had barely $100 in it to managing one with a balance of thousands of dollars.


Co-op position leads to career for UAH alumna


It's a tough economy these days, and finding a good job after graduation is a challenge for most. Fortunately for Chelsea Lavish, however, she got a very early start. Back in 2008, the Madison, Ala., native was balancing her final year at Bob Jones High School with a part-time job teaching dance. It just so happened that the mother of one of her students was an engineering director at the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC). "She recommended I try their summer hiring program after graduation," says Lavish. It was perfect timing. Despite her love of dance and her dream of one day being a ballerina, she was contemplating a more practical career in engineering and had already been accepted by UAH.


National leadership conference inspires two UAH students to host a local version


Among the 700+ women who attended this year's National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL) in Washington, D.C., two were from UAH: Kenya Wallace, a Ph.D. student in materials science, and Karelohn Williams, a junior in psychology.

Each learned of the conference separately. Williams says a guest lecturer in her women's studies class talked about her experience attending it. Wallace, meanwhile, was at a meeting of the Huntsville chapter of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) when it was discussed.


UAH students help former von Braun team member make trucks turn better

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A senior-level design class and the Office of Technology Commercialization at UAH are working with an 89-year old former von Braun rocket team member to refine and model a device that will make semi-tractor trailer trucks turn better. It was his frustration at seeing the unwieldy manner in which semis operate on the road that first got Ernst Evers interested in making them more responsive.


Wernher von Braun Memorial Symposium student poster winners


The 2013 Wernher von Braun Memorial Symposium student poster contest featured its first nursing student participant, Diedre Fortenberry Carter, who won a first place. The contest, during which UAH students displayed their research posters and gave presentations about their research, also was a first-time win for the Optics Department, as Ayshah Alatawi took a second place award.


Decatur native elected president of UAH’s English Honor Society

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English major Sarah Klimko decided to attend UAH because she says "there is so much happening in Huntsville." Plus, she adds, "it is such a growing area that it made sense to pursue my degree at a college like UAH with ties to the professional community."

Initially she intended to sign up for teaching classes, but she quickly found out that she was more interested in writing. "The university's location within a technologically minded community really made writing seem like a viable option for me," she says. "Most people only think of career opportunities for engineering students in this area after graduation, but these companies also need writers."


UAH BFA student’s senior exit show focuses on “Who We Are”

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When Harrison Walker decided to attend UAH, he had yet to figure out what he wanted to major in, let alone do with his life. But after two years of "switching around from business to marketing" he says, he realized his passion lay in the arts.

"I knew I wanted to do something that had to do with photography, specifically the technical side of traditional photography and its history," says Walker, who is a Huntsville native. "So I decided upon studio art."