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  • December 20th, 2021

BEST BETS 

REFRAMING NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS — New Year’s resolutions often include self-improvement or external goals, said Dr. John Burkhardt, associate professor of behavioral psychology at The University of Alabama. Whether those goals are to lose weight or tackle a new skill, Burkhardt recommends a realistic understanding of the goal and how to achieve it. For more information, contact Caroline Gazzara-McKenzie, UA Strategic Communications, at caroline.mckenzie@ua.edu. 

ROAD FATALITIES, RURAL ROAD CRASHES UP DURING HOLIDAY SEASON — During the December winter holidays, vehicle crash fatalities are higher than expected and there are more crashes along rural roads than the rest of the year, according to a study from The University of Alabama. The study, which examined crash data from the last half of the past five Decembers, also showed several rural counties led the state during the holidays for having more crashes than during other times of the year. During the focus period, several factors including impaired driving; swerving to avoid an animal, an unseen object or person; and driving too fast for conditions are overrepresented as the cause for crashes compared to the rest of the year. For more information, contact Adam Jones, UA Strategic Communications, at adam.jones@ua.edu. 

UA AMONG 60 FINALISTS FOR TRANSFORMATIVE WORKFORCE PROJECT — A proposal from The University of Alabama to lead a regional innovation and workforce development project for an economically depressed region of the state received initial seed money, the United States Department of Commerce announced last week. The $500,000 grant to UA will position it among 60 other projects competing for transformative investments as part of the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s $1 billion Build Back Better Regional Challenge. For more information, contact Adam Jones, UA Strategic Communications, at adam.jones@ua.edu. 

UA STUDENT, ALUMNUS RECEIVE MARSHALL SCHOLARSHIPS — A University of Alabama student and alumnus were among 41 Americans selected to study in the United Kingdom through the prestigious Marshall Scholarship. Jackson Foster, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Nathaniel Trost, of Tuscaloosa, bring the number of UA students and alumni to receive the award to five. The scholarship funds the opportunity for American students to pursue graduate studies at U.K. institutions. 

CULVERHOUSE COLLEGE OF BUSINESS DEBUTS EXECUTIVE EDUCATION PROGRAM — A new program being offered by The University of Alabama Culverhouse College of Business will provide business executives a unique opportunity to gain hard skills and deep knowledge that will allow them to make transformative impacts within their organizations. The Executive Education at Culverhouse program will feature distinct module-based tracks via in-person, virtual and hybrid formats. The program is designed to hone an individual’s ability to make effective and informed decisions, lead technical teams, and identify and reduce risks. Initial modules include business cybersecurity, data analytics and executive leadership. More courses will be added over time. For more information, contact Zach Thomas, Culverhouse College of Business director of marketing and communications, at rzthomas@culverhouse.ua.edu. 

UA SMALL BUSINESS PROGRAM RENEWS NATIONAL ACCREDITATION — The Alabama Small Business Development Center Network, based at The University of Alabama, was recently accredited through 2026, renewing its commitment to help state businesses succeed. Over the last five years, the Alabama SBDC has successfully helped entrepreneurs launch 1,115 new businesses, facilitated over $520 million in growth capital and helped small businesses create or add over 4,500 new jobs. For more information, contact Adam Jones, UA Strategic Communications, at adam.jones@ua.edu. 

A CHAIN REACTION: THREE UA LAW STUDENTS DONATE KIDNEYS — For UA Law students Angelica Mamami, Katrina Smith and Ryne Smith, their journeys to kidney donation were inspired by their studies. Not only did each student donate to a resident in need, but they also became a part of a donor chain that impacts thousands. For more information, contact Caroline Gazzara-McKenzie, UA Strategic Communications, at caroline.mckenzie@ua.edu. 

UA RESEARCH VP ELECTED AS FELLOW OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF INVENTORS — Dr. Russell J. Mumper, vice president for research and economic development at The University of Alabama, has been elected as a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. A prominent researcher in the field of pharmaceutical sciences and biomedical engineering, Mumper is the first faculty member at UA elected as an NAI Fellow. The NAI Fellows Program highlights academic inventors who have demonstrated a spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society. Election to be an NAI Fellow is the highest professional distinction accorded solely to academic inventors. For more information, contact Adam Jones, UA Strategic Communications, at adam.jones@ua.edu. 

CURRENT COMMENT 

LAUNCH OF ADVANCED TELESCOPE BRINGS HOPE FOR UNDERSTANDING COSMIC MYSTERIES The launch of the James Webb Space Telescope later this month is hoped to result in a powerful telescope that examines how galaxies, stars and planets form, said Dr. Bill Keel, professor of physics and astronomy at The University of Alabama, who has worked with several telescopes, including the Hubble Space Telescope. “Unlike Hubble, this is a true space telescope, using everything learned after Hubble’s design was frozen,” Keel said. “It is both extraordinarily complicated and extraordinarily powerful, capable of the level of discoveries we’ve seen from Hubble and going deeper into things that remain mysterious right now.” To schedule an interview, contact Keel at wkeel@ua.edu 

COVID THE X FACTOR IN FEDS’ SIGNAL TO COMBAT INFLATION — The Federal Reserve’s announcement of the intent to raise interest rates three times next year and to quickly end monetary stimulus is understandable to combat rising prices, but the pandemic is still the unknown in the economy, said Dr. Josh Pierce, a UA associate professor of finance and the Robert Hunt Cochrane/Alabama Banker’s Endowed Chair of Banking in the Culverhouse College of Business. “What the Fed is doing is a rational response given what they want to accomplish, which is put the brakes on inflation,” said Pierce, who has served on an advisory committee with the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. “They have a lot of power, but not over COVID. If factories are shutting down and people aren’t going to work — if demand is still greater than supply, then we still could see unwanted price pressure from a source that the Fed lacks control over.” To schedule an interview, contact Dr. Pierce at joshua.pierce@ua.edu. 

STAYING HEALTH CONSCIOUS DURING THE HOLIDAY SEASON — “The holidays can be an exciting time to see friends and family, as well as an opportunity to enjoy delicious food,” said Sheena Gregg, a registered dietitian nutritionist with the UA Department of Health Promotion and Wellness. “A few tips for managing your health goals while indulging in a variety of holiday gatherings include eating a light snack before a family gathering so you don’t arrive famished; taking time to eat your meal, which can result in taking in smaller portions; and avoiding exclusively eating refined carbohydrates. Also, stay hydrated throughout the holiday season because dehydration can often mimic the feeling of hunger.” For an interview with Gregg, contact Bryant Welbourne, UA Strategic Communications, at bryant.welbourne@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.