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The University of Alabama

UA in the News: November 15, 2012

UA working to increase high school interest in computer science – Nov. 14
The National Science Foundation has awarded a three-year, $1 million to grant to the University of Alabama to help improve interest in computer science among high school students. Beginning in January, the grant will help the university train 50 high school teachers to lead advanced-placement courses in computer science. The proposed courses would allow high school students to get early college credit in the field. According to a press release, the grant builds on the work of Jeff Gray, associate professor of computer science in the UA college of engineering. “Technology is as important to learn now as physics was 100 years ago, yet computer science is not taught in the overwhelming majority of high schools,” Gray said in a statement.

The Delicious Dietitian CEO Earns Prestigious Jack Davis Award – Nov. 15
The University of Alabama College of Human Environmental Sciences (CHES) presented the Jack Davis Professional Achievement Award to Mobile, Alabama entrepreneur Jen M. Neese, creator and Founder of The Delicious Dietitian, during homecoming festivities on October 26, 2012. Neese was lauded for creating her company, The Delicious Dietitian, which bridges her clinical expertise with a unique business model that provides individualized plans and counseling, as well as vinegars and spice blends that are free of salt, sugar, potassium, and artificial ingredients.  “I am so honored to be recognized by my alma mater, and to bring awareness of the university’s tremendous reputation for focusing on the science behind food and nutrition,” said Neese, who developed a passion for healthy cooking when she helped her family create seasonings free of salt, phosphorous, and potassium for her grandmother, a long-time dialysis patient. Coming full circle, her first recipe was published while she worked as a student in a test kitchen at The University of Alabama. She created her product line for people with diabetes, heart disease and kidney disease looking for safe flavor.

University helps children learn business skills
Crimson White – Nov. 15
The Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration and the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce are partnering up to host the Young Entrepreneurship Academy, a course teaching middle and high school students how to launch a successful business. The Young Entrepreneurship Academy hopes to foster the ideals of entrepreneurship and innovation in young children in the Tuscaloosa community, as students work in close cooperation with local business leaders, Loo Whitfield, director of education and workforce development at the Chamber of Commerce, said. “The course is seven months long starting in November and meeting once a week for three hours in The University of Alabama’s AIME building,” Whitfield said…Two business professors on campus, David Ford and Rob Morgan, played vital roles in helping the program take off logistically…Ford, who has personal experience with running entrepreneur camps at the University, helped arrange speakers and field trips for the program. “I have run a successful Entrepreneur Camp on campus for high school juniors for five years, and this seemed like a natural extension and refinement of that camp,” Ford said. “I cannot think of a better way to spend my time than helping young people envision the opportunities and rewards of innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship.”

Rural healthcare making progress
CBS 42 (Birmingham) – Nov. 14
Governor Robert Bentley has proclaimed this week as Rural Healthcare Week…Dr. John Wheat with the University of Alabama is a professor specializing in rural healthcare.  He says between UAB and other branch schools, the percentage of new physicians going into rural healthcare is well under 20 percent.  However, at the University of Alabama branch, about 50% of doctors are going into rural communities. Wheat attributes that success to the Rural Scholars Program, which has been at the Capstone for around 17 years.  The program reaches students as young as grade school in Pickens, Fayette, and Hale counties.  Students are exposed to the medical profession, and can continue to work through the program into their medical careers. In Hale County, high school students at the Hale County Center for Technology now have access to simulators that college students at UAB, UA, and Auburn University also use on their campuses.

Legal expert: IAEA overstepping bounds with Iran
Inter Press Service – Nov. 14
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is hosting an online discussion on Iran and International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) compliance standard. Authors include Arms Control Law blogger Daniel Joyner, the Hudson Institute’s Christopher Ford, and Vertic’s executive director, Andreas Persbo. Last week, Joyner, a law professor at the University of Alabama, wrote that the IAEA is overstepping its bounds with the two additional and separate legal standards included in the Director General’s Board of Governor’s report.

Campus group aims to increase diabetes education
Tuscaloosa News – Nov. 15
Koushik Kasanagottu is quite knowledgeable when it comes to diabetes. Growing up in a diabetic household, he learned at a young age what insulin shots were and what complications could arise from the disease that impacts 1.9 million Americans every year. But when the 20-year-old University of Alabama junior learned that one in nine people in Alabama are diagnosed with diabetes, he realized it was time to do something. In an effort to raise awareness and promote diabetes education, the Diabetes Education Team, of which Kasanagottu is president, hosted a World Diabetes Day event on the Quad at UA on Wednesday. Joining with other student and community organizations, the four-hour event provided educational material, recreational activities and refreshments to students as they passed the white tent on their way to class. Closing out the event, volunteers formed a human blue circle, which is the global symbol for diabetes, on the steps of Gorgas Library.

Banquet draws attention to hunger
Tuscaloosa News – Nov. 15
Corinne Evans stood in line for dinner. It wasn’t much, only beans and rice, but it was still something. As the 21-year-old looked around the room, she saw another group eating only rice with their fingers. She was definitely one of the more fortunate ones. “It’s so easy to get caught up in your own life and your own financial problems, you tend not to think about the rest of the world,” said Evans, a University of Alabama junior majoring in finance and math. “This was definitely a surprise.” About 150 UA students, faculty and staff learned what it was like to experience food inequality Wednesday at the Hunger Banquet. Sponsored by the university’s Community Service Center, the event is modeled after an Oxfam America program meant to provide a firsthand look at hunger…“It’s a way to educate students and our campus community about food security and hunger issues in a way that goes beyond someone just talking about it,” said Wahnee Sherman, UA’s Community Service Center director. “They actually see and understand it in a different way, at least for that brief time.”

Freed death row inmate speaks at UA
Crimson White – Nov. 15
The United States’ judiciary may not be as accurate or safe as citizens may believe. That was one of the main points capital punishment mitigator and University of Alabama School of Social Work faculty member Joanne Terrell and death row survivor Gary Drinkard made in a lecture titled “The Death Penalty from a Social Justice Perspective”on Nov. 14. The two activists spoke to a full audience in ten Hoor Hall on Wednesday night to discuss the unfairness of the death penalty within the state…Drinkard recounted his experience of being wrongfully convicted for the robbery and murder of a junkyard dealer in 1995 and later sentenced to death. After writing numerous letters to organizations for help, Drinkard was able to assemble his own dream team of attorneys to prove his innocence. He received an acquittal in 2001. Drinkard said his case is a prime example of a person convicted of a crime they did not commit and the injustices of the legal system in the state…“His story is not unique to Alabama death row,” said Terrell, who also serves as a mitigator for indigent capital murder defendants.

UA student veterans tell stories of service, sacrifice
Crimson White – Nov. 15
As Grey Westbrook sat back relaxing at a table in the Ferguson Center, he resembled any ordinary University of Alabama student taking a break from a day filled with classes. But his experiences make him far from ordinary. At 18, Westbrook decided to forgo attending the Capstone and enlisted in the United States Army. Six years later, he has finally returned to the University. There are approximately 800,000 military veterans currently attending colleges across the United States, including many who attend the University. These troops are able to attend advanced schooling and earn a college degree free of charge as part of the G.I. Bill…The University of Alabama Office of Veteran and Military Affairs offers many resources to help assist veterans with the transition to University life. They will be opening a brand new office Friday, Nov. 16 at 2 p.m. in B.B. Comer Hall to celebrate the culmination of their Veteran’s Week.

Students support Afgani children, send school supplies
Crimson White – Nov. 15
Emily Baxter is proud to be the daughter of a United States Army soldier…when Baxter’s father asked her to send some school supplies over for the children in Afghanistan, she immediately set to work organizing and gathering supplies with her friends. Baxter said her father and his battalion work in an area where there are schools. He gets to interact and see the kids on a regular basis, she said. “He noticed that they don’t have the basics,” Baxter said. “They don’t have paper. They don’t have pencils. They don’t have pens. He asked me if me and my friends wouldn’t mind sending some stuff over, and he said he would send me the address.” Baxter immediately began thinking about the project, and recruited her friends to help. What started off as only Baxter and a couple of friends gathering supplies for her father sparked a much larger project, and resulted in the creation of an organization, Heart of School Supplies.

Million Dollar player
Atmore Advance – Nov. 15
While the University of Alabama’s football team may be the focal point of campus attention right now, crowds following the Crimson Tide from all over the country are also getting a dose of the school’s famous Million Dollar Marching Band – and Atmore native Kristen Gehman is right in the middle of it all. Gehman, a 2011 graduate of Escambia County High School, is now a sophomore at the University of Alabama, where she is majoring in Public Relations. But Gehman is also using her years of experience as a stand out clarinet player for the Blue Devils as a way to entertain hundreds of thousands of football fans each week at Bryant Denny Stadium. Gehman said the experience is a lot of fun, but is also a lot of hard work. “It’s going really well,” Gehman said. “This is my first year marching with the band. I was kind of nervous my first year about doing it because it’s a lot of work and a huge commitment. They expect you to be your best and I was just nervous about transitioning from a small school to the marching band, but I kind of regret that now. I’ve had such a great time this year so far and met a lot of really great people. It’s been a fun experience. I kind of wish I had gotten in on it a little bit earlier.”

Budget right: students must make concerted effort to meet financial goals
Crimson White – Nov. 15
For many college students, managing money is an ongoing struggle and can be hard to master in addition to classes and a busy lifestyle…While it appears many students prioritize costs like rent and food before spending their money, organizational communication instructor Caroline Parsons finds that students’ mismanagement of money can signal poor management of other areas such as time and grades. To avoid this problem, Parsons stressed the importance of knowing the difference between needs and wants. “In the second half of the semester, people get into tight spots,” Parsons said. “If you don’t manage your money well, then all you’re resources suffer as well, your time, your friends and you’re nervous. There’s this underlying tension when you know you haven’t managed your money well, so it’s very important to work with your parents to make a monthly budget and stick to it.”

Harry Potter club celebrates books, promotes literacy
Crimson White – Nov. 15
For members of Muggles Spreading Magic, the mischief is never completely managed. Muggles Spreading Magic is The University of Alabama chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance, an international nonprofit organization devoted the J.K. Rowling’s beloved book series as well as to civic engagement…President Monica Day, a sophomore majoring in social work and co-founder of Muggles Spreading Magic,…said the aforementioned “evil” for UA HPA this year is illiteracy in West Alabama. “This semester we have focused largely on raising awareness for literacy,” Day said. “We’re in the works of throwing a rather large book drive and in talks with [the Alabama Department of Human Resources] to hold a panel for kids to present them with the idea of HPA and get them excited about reading and education.” The club will also host its first Yule Ball, named after a celebration featured in the series’ fourth book, on Nov. 30, with proceeds going to the West Alabama Literary Council and its efforts to stock Habitat for Humanity homes with books.

Toys for Tots donations can be dropped off at UA
Tuscaloosa News – Nov. 15
Sites on the University of Alabama campus will serve as drop-off locations for the Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots campaign through Dec. 14, according to the Libraries Support Staff Association at UA. New and unwrapped toys may be dropped off at the Angelo Bruno Business Library, the W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library, the McLure Education Library, Sarah and Eric Rodgers Library for science and engineering, and the first and second floors of the Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library on the UA campus. Toys will be distributed in the Tuscaloosa community.


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.