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  • November 22nd, 2021

BEST BETS 

UA STUDENT NAMED RHODES SCHOLAR — Nicholas Hayes, a senior originally from Memphis, Tennessee, was selected as one of 32 Americans to receive a Rhodes Scholarship, the oldest award for international study and likely the most recognized academic award for U.S. college graduates. Hayes, who studies math and German and is part of Honors College, was chosen from more than 2,300 students who began the application process and 826 students endorsed by universities. For more information, contact Adam Jones, UA Strategic Communications, at adam.jones@ua.edu. 

OPERATION IRON RUCK BRINGS AWARENESS TO VETERAN SUICIDES – Members of the UA Campus Veterans Association will march alongside the Auburn University Student Veterans Association in the fourth annual Operation Iron Ruck that will begin in Tuscaloosa Nov. 24 and end in Auburn ahead of the Iron Bowl Nov. 27. Each participant will carry 17 pounds of donated materials to remember the 17 veterans that die by suicide each day, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The items carried and monetary donations raised will go to support Mission 22, Three Hots and a Cot and the Tuskegee Veterans Community Living Center. For more information, contact Shane Dorrill, UA Strategic Communications, at shane.dorrill@ua.edu. 

UA STUDY: AVOID TRAVEL AFTER DARK DURING THANKSGIVING WEEK — A study of Thanksgiving week vehicle crash data from the past five years in Alabama shows travel after dark increases risk for crashes and fatalities, leading to the conclusion that, if possible, all modes of transportation should be avoided after the sun goes down. Fatal crashes in darkness are over three times their daylight hour expectation during the week of Thanksgiving, caused by factors such as driving under the influence of alcohol and other drugs and driving too fast for nighttime conditions. Delayed response of first responders at night in rural areas is also a factor for the increased fatal crashes, according to the UA study. For more information, contact Adam Jones, UA Strategic Communications, at adam.jones@ua.edu. 

FAYARD GIFT TO TRANSFORM LITERACY EDUCATION, SUPPORT SCHOLARSHIP – A multimillion-dollar gift from UA alumni Gary and Nancy Fayard will create a lasting impact on students as they navigate their lifetime of learning. The $2 million Fayard Endowed Chair in Literacy Education will help the UA College of Education attract a nationally recognized scholar in the field of childhood literacy. The $1 million Fayard First Generation Business Scholars Endowed Scholarship will provide financial support for first-generation business students from the state of Alabama. For more information, contact Shane Dorrill, UA Strategic Communications, at shane.dorrill@ua.edu. 

UA LEADING EFFORT TO READY FUTURE TEACHERS OF COMPUTER SCIENCE – The University of Alabama is leading a program among six state universities to prepare secondary education students to fill the need for trained computer science teachers in the state. The statewide program builds off a successful computer science education training program at UA. With a nearly $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation, this new phase aims to train 90 secondary education students over the next three years. The program’s goal is to help high schools comply with state mandates to offer computer science in the secondary gradesFor more information, contact Adam Jones, UA Strategic Communications, at adam.jones@ua.edu. 

BEAT AUBURN BEAT HUNGER FOOD DRIVE SETS NEW RECORD  The University of Alabama raised 319,437 pounds in this year’s Beat Auburn Beat Hunger food drive, breaking a school record. All food and money collected from the Beat Auburn Beat Hunger food drive benefits the West Alabama Food Bank. The food bank works with nine counties in West Alabama, serving a population of more than 315,000 residents. This year’s drive ran from Oct. 1 to Nov. 18. Auburn University raised 352,388 pounds of food, winning the friendly collegiate competition for the first time since 2016. For more information, contact Caroline Gazzara-McKenzie, UA Strategic Communications, at caroline.mckenzie@ua.edu. 

UA, UAB PARTNER WITH NIH TO STUDY HEALTHY CHILD BRAIN DEVELOPMENT – A diverse and multidisciplinary team of researchers at The University of Alabama at Birmingham and The University of Alabama was awarded a $7.1 million NIH grant over five years to conduct a comprehensive study of risk and protective factors for healthy brain development in children. Participants will be enrolled from a diverse urban and rural population across the state of Alabama as part of a 25-site national consortium. For more information, contact Adam Jones, UA Strategic Communications, at adam.jones@ua.edu. 

CURRENT COMMENT 

SLEEPY AFTER EATING YOUR THANKSGIVING MEAL? DON’T BLAME THE TURKEY. – Tryptophan, an amino acid found in turkey, has gotten a bad reputation for being the reason we want to nap after eating a large Thanksgiving meal. And while tryptophan does play a role in helping to induce the sleep-wake cycle, Dr. Adam Knowlden, associate professor of health science in UA’s College of Human Environmental Sciences, says it may not be the turkey’s fault that you feel sleepy. “Unless you’re deficient in it nutritionally, it’s probably not going to make much of a difference.” Knowlden says the desire to take a nap probably comes from all of the other carbohydrate-rich foods we consume like mashed potatoes, stuffing and pumpkin pie, which cause an insulin spike in our bodies. Knowlden also believes that just celebrating the holiday where people can destress could also be a reason for feeling sleepy. For an interview, contact Knowlden at aknowlden@ches.ua.edu. 

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The University of Alabama, part of The University of Alabama System, is the state’s flagship university. UA shapes a better world through its teaching, research and service. With a global reputation for excellence, UA provides an inclusive, forward-thinking environment and nearly 200 degree programs on a beautiful, student-centered campus. A leader in cutting-edge research, UA advances discovery, creative inquiry and knowledge through more than 30 research centers. As the state’s largest higher education institution, UA drives economic growth in Alabama and beyond.