UA in the News: Aug. 14, 2012
August 14, 2012 - Filed under: UA in the News
Snails appear reborn, or were overlooked
New York Times – Aug. 13
A freshwater snail has been rediscovered on the Cahaba River in Alabama, 12 years after it was declared extinct. Nathan Whelan, a graduate student in biology at the University of Alabama, spotted the snail — called the oblong rocksnail, or Leptoxis compacta — on a small stretch of the river. The rocksnail, about the size of a nickel, with a yellow body and a black band on its head, once had a range of about 50 miles along the Cahaba, but it was in major decline by 1935. In 2000, the International Union for Conservation of Nature declared it extinct. But Mr. Whelan, whose doctoral research is on snails, had a hunch that it might still be out there. “It never really made sense to me, why this particular species went extinct when all these other species found in the same stretch of the river are still there,” he said. The Cahaba River is home to many species of fish and mussels, and 32 other species of snails. So Mr. Whelan took his friends kayaking in search of the snail. “I said, ‘Let’s spend a day looking, and in the worst-case scenario we spend a day kayaking,’ ” he said. They found rocksnails along a stretch, and collected about 30 specimens to study in the lab. The findings appear in the current issue of the journal PLoS One. Mr. Whelan hopes that the snails can be bred in captivity and reintroduced in one or two other places along the river. “Right now a single pollution event could cause the extinction of the whole species,” he said.
UA professor to serve on National Association of Hispanic Nurses board
Al.com – Aug. 13
Norma Cuellar, professor in the University of Alabama Capstone College of Nursing, was recently appointed to serve on the board of directors for the National Association of Hispanic Nurses for the 2012-2014 term. She will also serve as the nominations committee chair of NAHN. Cuellar is an advocate for growing minority nurse populations and for reducing health disparities of the undeserved populace and is dedicated to mentoring minority students to become nurse leaders and researchers. At UA, she is involved in the Crossroads Community Center, which provides campus leadership in the areas of cultural programming and intercultural education, and participates in the planning of Hispanic Latino Heritage Month observances. She is a member of the Hispanic Providers Network through Tuscaloosa’s One Place and actively participates in the annual community service fair Brazos Abrietos. She serves on the Alabama State Department of Health-Health Disparities Committee. In the past year, she served on the West Alabama Health Literacy Taskforce and the Alabama chapter of the NAACP Health Advisory Committee. Cuellar says her goal is to mentor young Hispanic nurses to continue their education (bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate in nursing) and become leaders in health care at local, state, regional and national levels.
Alabama Public Radio wins national award
CBS 42 (Birmingham) – Aug. 13
Pat Duggins, news director at Alabama Public Radio, housed in The University of Alabama’s College of Communication and Information Sciences, has won a national PRNDI award from Public Radio News Directors Inc. The judges called Duggins five-part series “Oil & Water: Recovering from the Spill” a “great mix of affected voices, ambient sound, and writing that conveys the aftermath of one of America’s worst oil spill disasters. Smart, engaging storytelling.” The series, which covered the aftermath of the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, won a first-place award. “APR took a calculated risk by spending a year investigating the actual long-term impact of the oil spill on Alabama’s coast,” Duggins said. “It’s very flattering to have this effort recognized with a prestigious national award.” This was APR’s first PRNDI award in more than a decade. “Alabama Public Radio, like public radio stations across the country, pursues what some might consider old-fashioned notions of journalism,” said Elizabeth Brock, director of the Center for Public Television and Radio. “To have our work recognized by the Public Radio News Directors Inc. – a group composed of industry leaders who are committed to the highest standards of journalistic excellence – is a great honor,” Brock said. “We owe this achievement to the listeners and supporters of Alabama Public Radio who help make it all possible.” Alabama Public Radio is listener-supported radio that broadcasts from the Tennessee Valley to the Gulf Coast. For more information, visit the APR website.
Hill named head of Alabama Productivity Center at UA
Birmingham News – Aug. 13
Thomas A. Hill, previously director of the Alabama Technology Network’s Birmingham centers, has been appointed executive director of the Alabama Productivity Center at The University of Alabama. Hill has experience improving quality in manufacturing and eliminating waste, J. Michael Hardin, dean of the Culverhouse College of Commerce at UA, said in a prepared statement. “We are fortunate to have found an individual who also has his experience in workforce and economic development,” Hardin said. The Productivity Center is a nonprofit organization at UA that uses the school’s research and resources to improve business’s quality and productivity. Hill is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s in engineering.
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute to hold open house
WVUA (Tuscaloosa) – Aug. 13
A learning opportunity for “mature” adults, you have the chance to learn more about educational opportunities … the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Alabama is hosting an open house. Osher is a UA volunteer and membership program that presents adults with the opportunity to advance in educational opportunities. There’s no homework, no college degree required, and no age limit. The open house will be held tomorrow, Aug. 14 at the Bryant Conference Center. The event will kick off 4 p.m. and last until 6. Admission is free of charge
Jack ‘The Face’ Blankenship makes Reader’s Digest ‘Laughterpedia’
Al.com – Aug. 14
Our parents always told us if we kept making that silly face, it would stay that way forever. Maybe that’s a good thing in Jack Blankenship’s case. By now, you know the University of Alabama sophomore as “The Face” thanks to the viral cardboard cutout of his own face he waves at Crimson Tide basketball games. Blankenship scored appearances on “The Today Show,” “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” FunnyOrDie.com and a pair of fun UA-themed online ads for his “campaign” for campus president as well as the Bryant Museum. Now he’s in Reader’s Digest “Laughterpedia” issue, offering an A-Z look at things that make us laugh. Blankenship is F for “Fanatic.” The magazine writes above a photo of him and his giant head: Some sports fans try to psych out the opposing team by booking. Then there’s University of Alabama sophomore Jack Blankenship.” “It’s still pretty cool that these things keep happening,” Blankenship said. “I thought I was done after the ‘Jack for UA President’ video, but since then I’ve done a video for the Bryant Museum, went to the Hangout Music Festival, and I’m currently in the running for ESPN’s Hall of Fans.
The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.