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The University of Alabama

UA in the News: Oct. 17, 2013

Alabama Museum of Natural History hosts event for Fossil Day
Tuscaloosa News – Oct. 17
A ninth-grader at Northridge High School on Wednesday helped reveal the fossils he discovered over the summer at the Alabama Museum of Natural History. In celebration of National Fossil Day, Noah Traylor, who found the first piece of the fossil, and Dana Ehret, curator of paleontology at the museum, unveiled the bones at an event that celebrated Alabama paleontology. “This is the first time we’ve done anything with National Fossil Day,” said Randy Mecredy, director of the museum said. “What we’re looking at are fossils from the coal age, Cretaceous and Ice Age. That’s what the museum represents. We’ve brought in experts from those areas … Everything is Alabama-specific.” Traylor discovered the elasmosaur bones while at the museum’s paleontology summer camp in Greene County in June. He said he had been attending the camp since he was in sixth grade and had found some fossils before, but never anything of importance. “(It felt) pretty good. I was surprised at first — I thought they were all joking around at first,” Traylor said. “But then all the paleontologist said, ‘This is a bone,’ so I knew.”… Also showcased at the event was one of the many 3D printers that the University of Alabama’s engineering department has. Holland Hopson, a professor at UA, helped to explain what the printer was doing as it made little key chains that looked like fossilized teeth for the kids at the event to take home.
Crimson White – Oct. 17

UA launches Teacher Leadership Academy
Tuscaloosa News – Oct. 17
The University of Alabama’s Division of Community Affairs is launching a Teacher Leadership Academy to help local teachers improve their partnerships with parents and the community in area schools. The academy will augment the division’s existing Parent Leadership Academy, according to a release from the university. Approximately 27 teachers from Skyland, Englewood, Matthews, Myrtlewood, Tuscaloosa Magnet, Holt, Flatwoods, Southview and Martin Luther King elementary schools will participate in the pilot program, which will be facilitated by Polly Moore, retired assistant superintendent for Tuscaloosa County Schools. The teachers in the pilot program will learn to increase involvement by parents and families; improve communication with parents; increase support for schools through community networks, partnerships and grants; and increase opportunities for students to succeed, according to the release.

Beat Auburn Beat Hunger starts at UA
CBS 42 (Birmingham) – Oct. 16
The Auburn-Alabama football rivalry is one of the best in the nation. But the school’s friendly rivalry to beat hunger is even better…As part of the Beat Auburn Beat Hunger campaign, its tradition for someone to get a pie in the face. It’s a fun way to raise awareness and donations on campus. “We are trying to make sure that students understand the impact in our community is much larger than just beating Auburn.”
ABC 33/40 (Birmingham) – Oct. 16

Noted sports columnist Christine Brennan to speak at UA on Oct. 25
Tuscaloosa News – Oct. 17
Sports columnist Christine Brennan will discuss sports journalism and diversity during a free event on Oct. 25 as part of “Through the Doors,” the yearlong commemoration of the 50th anniversary of UA’s successful integration. Brennan will present a lecture titled “Sports in the 21st Century: Diversity at the Starting Line” at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 25 in the Ferguson Center Theater on campus, according to a release from UA. Brennan is a columnist for USA Today and contributor to ESPN, ABC, NPR and Fox Sports Radio. “Christine Brennan is an example of how a sports journalist can speak to the role sports play in society and how they shape our attitudes about social issues,” said Andrew Billings, director of UA’s Program in Sports Communication in a statement released by the university.

Michael Martone: Making the ordinary strange
NUVO (Indianapolis, Ind.) – Oct. 16
He has imagined the secret thoughts of Dan Quayle, conjured James Dean’s high school drama coach, and written a guidebook to an Indiana (The Blue Guide) that truly is the stuff that dreams are made of. Michael Martone’s writing defies ready categorization. One of his works of fiction is called Michael Martone. In a career going back to 1984, and the publication of his first story collection, Alive and Dead in Indiana, Martone has produced an array of stories and essays that not only challenge our preconceptions about what literature is meant to do, but about the nature of experience itself. “I was born in 1955,” he says. That was the year McDonald’s started, that Disneyland opened, and that the Interstate Highway system began. I think that is the chord of my childhood. I was born at the inception of this incredible, mobile, artificial culture. These things were going to destroy what, before me, was the notion of home and substitute these synthetic versions of home-cooking, of Main Street, and all of that.” Martone is the winner of the 2013 national author prize presented by the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Awards. He will accept his award ($2,500 of which he will donate to his hometown public library in Fort Wayne) on Oct. 26 at the Central Library. He recently spoke to NUVO from his home in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where he teaches in the English Department at the University of Alabama.

Never too soon
Jackson County Daily Sentinel – Oct. 16
According to the University of Alabama’s Dr. Laura Bloom, children begin developing a self-esteem as early as the toddler years, and a positive self-esteem in young children is the foundation for success later in life. Children with positive feelings about who they are and what they can accomplish in life are more confident and tend to be more successful in all aspects of their life, Bloom says. Bloom, who is an assistant professor in UA’s College of Human Environmental Sciences’ department of human development and family studies, provides a few suggestions on how families can promote positive self-esteem. First, Bloom says parents should respond to their child’s basic needs in a timely and consistent manner, which will teach the child that he is important and can count on those around him. These basic needs include food and attention, and Bloom says prompt parental response to provide such needs for a child is critical in helping to stabilize a positive self-esteem early on.

Federal Workers Head Back To Jobs As Government Reopens
GPB News – Oct. 17
Hundreds of thousands federal workers on furlough for two weeks are going back to work after Congress approved a late-night deal Wednesday to fund the government and stave off default…University of Alabama geologist Samantha Hansen has been conducting a research project in Antarctica that in one way is like almost everything else funded by the federal government: After 16 days down, it’s going to take some time to restart: “It’s not just like flipping a switch. [In] getting the system running, there’s a lot of cogs in the machine,” she says.

Ivy Leagues offer free classes
Crimson White – Oct. 17
It is now possible for anyone with Internet access to be an Ivy League student. No applications are required, there are no prerequisites, and all of the classes are free. Massive open online courses, or MOOCs, offered by universities internationally, are opening up higher education through online lectures and coursework. In May 2012, Harvard and MIT launched, a collaboration between the two universities to offer these types of free courses. The site has gained popularity across the globe and now has 1.3 million registered students and 29 university partners including Cornell, University of Texas and international partners such as The University of Queensland and Peking University…Moss said he believes that MOOCs can add to, not take away from, the classroom. However, Cameron Lacquement, a professor at The University of Alabama who teaches an online anthropology course, said the open appeal of MOOCs also hinders their effectiveness. “I teach online and also in the classroom, and what we’re trying to do is replicate the classroom online. Most of our classes are around 60 students maximum, and MOOCs get into the thousands. There were 100,000 students in one of the first courses offered through Harvard. We are trying to keep interaction, communication and frequent feedback between students and professors, and students and other students,” Lacquement said.

Left in the dark: Students feel impact of government shutdown
Crimson White – Oct. 17
One would think that rocket scientists would never find themselves out of work, but during the recent government shutdown, University of Alabama student and NASA employee and intern Liz Bowman struggled to come up with a backup plan. “We were at work the day before the shutdown, and nobody actually expected it to shut down,” Bowman said. On Oct. 1, the federal government entered a shutdown after Congress failed to pass appropriations legislation to ensure government operations could remain funded…Bowman, a UA senior, was accepted for an internship position working on the programming for the firing room of the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. The firing room is where NASA aerospace engineers control a rocket’s launch. The day after finishing her training for the position, the government shut down, and Bowman was told to stay home. “We were told to absolutely do zero work,” Bowman said in an interview with The Crimson White Tuesday. “If you do any sort of work, they might put you in jail. They’ll fine you. We were told we can’t even look at our email.”

Study abroad experiences teach life lessons
Crimson White – Oct. 17
In June of this year, I returned from a semester of study abroad in Madrid, Spain. It might sound somewhat cliché, but those six months in Europe were the most transformative time of my life. Not only did I gain academic diversity by taking classes in a different country and learning from a different perspective, but also it offered an unparalleled chance for personal growth…Having to find your way in a foreign country where you have no family is tough, but it provides a golden opportunity in that it gives one the opportunity to learn so much about oneself…The University of Alabama’s Studying Abroad office is very good at answering any questions related to studying abroad. The office is located at 135 BB Comer Hall, and I encourage anybody with questions to stop by their office and they will be glad to assist you.

Miss University of Alabama Miranda Ward
WVUA (Tuscaloosa) – Oct. 16
Danny Salter interviews Miss University of Alabama Miranda Ward for his weekly segment, “Where’s Danny?”

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.