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The University of Alabama

UA Students Selected for Food Network Culinary Event at Dauphin Island

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Five students from the department of human nutrition and hospitality management in The University of Alabama College of Human Environmental Sciences will be traveling to Dauphin Island this Friday-Sunday, Oct. 12-14, to partner with Food Network star Martie Duncan on a prestigious culinary event.

Duncan, who recently competed in “Food Network Star,” is hosting the 2012 Seafood, Science and Celebrity event, which benefits the Dauphin Island Estuarium and Sea Lab.

Duncan requested UA student participation for the planning, set up and execution of the event. Students will each be assigned a specific area of responsibility and will be reporting directly to Duncan and event director Lynne Brown of Dauphin Island Tourism. The goal of this endeavor is to help the students gain practical experience in event management.

The five UA students who were selected to participate in the Dauphin Island event are Diana DeFatta, Carl Smoker, Anna Guarisco, Amy Shepard and Alexa Verroi.

The event will feature other celebrity chefs, including former UA football player Bob Baumhower, as well as entertainment from Alabama native and American Idol finalist Taylor Hicks.

The UA student involvement was coordinated by the new UA chapter of Meeting Professionals International. MPI is a global organization consisting of some 21,000 members.

“Our goal with UA MPI is to help our members gain industry experience and connect them to industry professionals before entering the workforce,” said Alyssa Tilkin, co-founder of UA MPI.

For more information on the event, visit

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.