The University of Alabama

UA in the News: December 6, 2012

Annual Library Report ranks UA libraries 36th
Crimson White – Dec. 6
As finals near and Dead Week drags on, University of Alabama students are filling the campus libraries that, according to the 2011-2012 Annual Library Report, rank 36th at public universities in the U.S. Last school year, the University’s eight libraries weathered 1,733,143 visits, averaging out to about 55 library visits per student. The libraries hold 3,298,935 volumes and 782,352 electronic books, all of which are accessible online through the Scout database, which can be accessed through a student’s myBama account. This resource is paid for by the University and searches the UA library book collection, online journals, image collections and any other academic source the University has purchased access to. “Scout is a resource discovery tool,” said Nancy Fawley, head of information services for Gorgas Library. Fawley said Scout is often used by students writing research papers, and for this purpose, Scout has a built-in citation generator. Ally Husband, a sophomore majoring in engineering, has used Scout multiple times. “It has saved my life on numerous research papers and projects I have had to complete,” Husband said.

Engineering student to present research in national competition
Crimson White – Dec. 6
Larry Summerville, a senior majoring in metallurgical and materials engineering, will go on to compete in a national competition after winning first prize at a regional assembly of the National Society of Black Engineers. The National Society of Black Engineers is a nonprofit student-governed organization formed to increase the amount of African-American engineers and encourage members to excel academically and succeed in future careers. Summerville presented his research at the Regional NSBE Assembly in Montgomery to a panel of judges and won first place on his research poster titled “Morphological Evolution and Surface Migration of Gold Films.” “My research basically presents a theory on how to help electronics in the future,” Summerville said. Summerville will compete in the national NSBE convention held in Indianapolis, Ind.

Recycling saves University $360,000 per year
Crimson White – Dec. 6 (Print edition only)
The Business Honors Program Sustainability Committee has given students the opportunity to reduce their personal carbon footprint during their end-of-the-year cleanout. The committee is teaming up with the University of Alabama Recycling Center for the third annual Finals Clean Out. Students can recycle their notebooks, binder-ready textbooks, notes, notecards, newspapers and other recyclable items in 10 blue recycling bins on campus until Dec. 7. Tony Johnson, executive director of UA’s Logistics and Support Services, which oversees the Recycling Center, encourages students to go green and contribute to the event.

Registration for UA Creative Writing Club for high school students now open
Tuscaloosa News – Dec. 6
The University of Alabama invites local high school students to sign up for the Creative Writing Club offered in the spring semester. The club will meet from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays, Jan. 30 through April 24, in 301 Morgan Hall on campus. No previous creative writing experience is required and the club is open to freshmen through seniors. The instructors will be writers who are graduate students in UA’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program. They will lead a semester-long exploration of creative writing under the direction of poet and UA professor Robin Behn. Students will experiment with many kinds of creative writing, give a public reading and create their own publication. The emphasis is on having fun while exploring what language can do. Tuition and parking are free. The Creative Writing Club, beginning its ninth year, has been supported by the Alabama State Council on the Arts, Tuscaloosa Arts Council, UA College of Arts and Sciences, English department and program in creative writing. The Creative Writing Club also offers a free summer experience, Creative Writing Camp, for two weeks each year in June. Registration for the summer program will begin in March.

UA grad may throw football for $100k at BSC Championship game in Dr. Pepper promotion (updated)
Al.com – Dec. 6
The Crimson Tide football team may not be the only representative of the University of Alabama competing for a championship at Miami’s Sun Life Stadium on Jan. 7. UA grad Xavier Burgin is one of 10 finalists competing to win a $100,000 scholarship in a long-running Dr. Pepper promotion. Burgin, now in graduate school at the University of Southern California, and the other finalists have posted videos telling their story on the Dr. Pepper website, where viewers can vote for their favorite. The five who get the most votes will throw footballs at targets on the field to determine who wins the $100,000 in scholarship money. Voting ends Dec. 17. Burgin, who already has won $2,500 in scholarship funds for making the top 10, reached out to the Alabama Film Office for assistance getting the word out, and state film officials have taken up the cause. A Mississippi native who moved to Alabama when he was in the 8th grade, Burgin said his interest in filmmaking was sparked by a college course in which students were handed cameras and told to go make a movie. “It was scary, but amazing,” he said.
Crimson White – Dec. 6

UA professor honored for dedication to anti-racist scholarship
Tuscaloosa News – Dec. 6
A University of Alabama professor has been named recipient of the 2012 Presidential Achievement Award, given by the Association of American Geographers, for his career-long dedication to anti-racist scholarship in geography. Bobby Wilson, a professor in the department of geography, is noted for his work in exploring issues of housing, urban revitalization, economic development and social justice for black communities. In particular, the Association of American Geographers cited his extensive work focusing on the Civil Rights Movement, including two major volumes, “America’s Johannesburg: Industrialization and Racial Transformation in Birmingham” and “Race and Place in Birmingham: The Civil Rights and Neighborhood Movements” “(The works) illustrate his profound contribution to understanding the geography of Birmingham,” the group stated. “As the titles convey, his work addresses both the large-scale processes of economic, political, social transformation, and the on-the-ground social movements that respond.”

Creative Campus helps UA students gain DIY attitude
Crimson White – Dec. 6
DIY UA is an ongoing Creative Campus project dedicated to instilling a do-it-yourself attitude into University of Alabama students. From 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday night, DIY UA is hosting a bleach print T-shirt party at Maxwell Hall, where Talia Scarpeli, a UA sophomore, will teach students how to turn an ordinary colored cotton T-shirt into a bleach designed T-shirt. “The session will be a perfect way to create a fun, easy and personalized gift for the holiday season,” saud Shiori Ito, the student director of DIY UA. Those wishing to participate will need to provide their own T-shirt, but all other materials will be provided by DIY UA. “I’m just excited to learn to make my own shirts and do my own DIY stuff,” said Danny Ryan, a sophomore majoring in business. “I think that it’ll be good to have people get together and learn a new skill and complete a project together.”

Holiday ballet returns
Tuscaloosa News – Dec. 6
…Tuscaloosa Community Dancers production of “The Nutcracker.”  The ballet runs Dec. 14-16 at the Bama Theatre in downtown Tuscaloosa … For Nashville resident Maddie Winchester, 19, a University of Alabama sophomore who is playing the mother and the “Mouse King,” having an opportunity to perform a ballet that has been around for so long is “very validating” for a ballerina. “There’s a sense of connection, of timelessness that’s really fun to be a part of,” Winchester said. “And it’s such a happy Christmas story — very festive, beautiful to watch and entertaining.”

Astronomers looking for volunteer star-hunters
KSL.com (Utah) – Dec. 5
A group of astronomers is looking for thousands of volunteers to help them with a new project that may answer how galaxies form and how stars form within these galaxies. The project explores the galaxy next door, Andromeda, which is about 2.5 million light years away, or 14 billion billion miles. The Hubble Space Telescope began collecting images in 2010. There are about 3 billion pixels of images and that’s where volunteers are needed. “We are hoping to recruit volunteers to look through them and identify groups of stars that we call ‘star clusters,’” said Anil Seth, an organizer of the Andromeda Project and an assistant professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Utah. The Andromeda Project is a collaboration that includes scientists and website developers at the University of Utah, University of Washington, Adler Planetarium in Chicago, Oxford University, University of Minnesota, University of Alabama and the European Space Agency.
Science Daily – Dec. 5

Group to volunteer during break
Crimson White – Dec. 6
While most University of Alabama students rush to get home for the holidays, 21 students will travel with the Community Service Center on an alternative break to give back to the people of New Orleans, La. Libby Loveless, the director of the alternative break at the Community Service Center, said the group will spend Dec. 16-19 mentoring children through Head Start programs and possibly doing Hurricane Isaac disaster relief work. “We have a lot of freshman enthusiasm but generally a mixed group of people,” Loveless said. “We mostly attract people who are very enthusiastic about service.” The Community Service Center offers alternative break trips year-round, including an international trip at the end of the spring semester. Two of the students involved are receiving full scholarships to pay for the trip through UA Away, but every other student will pay his or her own way, Loveless said. Most of the domestic trips are done in the Southeast to cut down on costs, she said. Loveless said she hopes the programs are an opportunity for students to get out of Tuscaloosa and get to know other places, especially for out-of-state students who might not get to leave Tuscaloosa very often.

Synesthesia: student reads, writes in color
Crimson White – Dec. 6
When Bria Mattox reads a book, she sees colors not printed on the pages. She sees different colors in each word, letter and number. Mattox, 20, has a neurological condition known as synesthesia, which means “feeling together,” according to neuroscientists Bryan Kolb and Ian Q. Whishaw in their book “An Introduction to Brain and Behavior.” When Mattox reads words such as her name “Bria” or “Roll Tide,” she sees each letter in a different color or shade, though they are consistent for each letter or number. “In my name, the B is green,” she said. “R is orange-ish. I is white, and A is red. The letters in ‘Roll Tide’ look orange, clear, yellow, yellow for ‘Roll,’ and light blue, white, light green and black for ‘Tide.’” Mattox said she doesn’t think of colors when someone speaks, but if she’s reading or visualizing a word intensely – while spelling, for example – her mind colors the letters. Philip Gable, assistant professor of psychology at The University of Alabama, said synesthesia is similar to having perceptual wires in the brain getting crossed. “Normally, projections from our senses get sent to the right spot, but sometimes these projections can get crossed and sent to the wrong centers of the brain,” Gable said.

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.