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  • May 2nd, 2022

BEST BETS  

UA LEAVES NEARLY $2.8 BILLION MARK ON STATE ECONOMYThe University of Alabama’s economic impact on the state approached $2.8 billion during the 2019-2020 academic year, meaning each dollar in state appropriations for UA translated to more than $15 returned to the economy, according to the latest UA economic impact report conducted by the Center for Business and Economic Research in the UA Culverhouse College of Business. The report also projects graduates of the 2019-2020 class will pay over $1 billion in additional state income and sales taxes than they would have without a degree from the University. Alabama will realize a nearly 12% annual rate of return on its investment in those graduates, according to the report. For more information, contact Adam Jones, UA Strategic Communications, at adam.jones@ua.edu. 

UA FUELS TUSCALOOSA’S ECONOMYThe University of Alabama continues to be a driving force in the Tuscaloosa area’s economy, according to a recent economic analysis. During the 2019-2020 academic year, UA had a more than $2 billion economic impact in the three-county Tuscaloosa metro, according to the latest UA economic impact report conducted by the Center for Business and Economic Research in the UA Culverhouse College of Business. With an enrollment of more than 38,000 and more than 7,100 employees, the University plays a significant role in Tuscaloosa’s economy. It’s the area’s largest employer and, when counting conservative estimates of family members of UA employees, accounts for about half of the city of Tuscaloosa’s near-100,000 population and about a quarter of Tuscaloosa County’s population. For more information, contact Adam Jones, UA Strategic Communications, at adam.jones@ua.edu. 

UA CHOSEN FOR NEXT ROUND OF NATIONAL VEHICLE COMPETITIONBuilding on its success in the previous two competitions, The University of Alabama was selected as one of 15 North American institutions to participate in the upcoming EcoCAR EV Challenge. UA students from across campus will be challenged to engineer a next-generation battery electric vehicle that deploys connected and autonomous vehicle features to implement energy efficient and customer-pleasing features while meeting the decarbonization goals of the automotive industry. This is the third consecutive Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition for UA students after taking part in EcoCAR 3 and EcoCAR Mobility Challenge, which finishes in May. For more information, contact Adam Jones, UA Strategic Communications, at adam.jones@ua.edu. 

UA FACULTY MEMBERS SELECTED FOR FULBRIGHT AWARDS — Three UA faculty members were recently selected for Fulbright awards for educators. Dr. Cory Callahan, associate professor of secondary social studies education, received a Fulbright Specialist Award; Dr. Y. John Kim, associate professor in the department of chemical and biological engineering, was selected as a Fulbright U.S. Scholar; and Dr. George Daniels, associate professor in the department of journalism and creative media, will participate in the pilot cohort of the Global Challenges Teaching Award through the US-UK Fulbright Commission and American Council on Education. For more information, contact Bryant Welbourne, UA Strategic Communications, at bryant.welbourne@ua.edu. 

EQUITABLE CARE PATH REDUCES DISPARITY IN SPORT-RELATED CONCUSSIONSWhile previous work indicates Black patients of sports-related concussions suffer worse outcomes and receive lesser-quality care, a new study involving The University of Alabama shows racial disparity is greatly reduced with equitable resources and established care paths. Athletic trainers were also shown to be integral to the care pathway and may help to reduce disparities in treatment of sport-related concussions, or SRC, according to the study “Health Care Navigation of Black and White Adolescents After Sport-Related Concussion: A Path Towards Achieving Health Equity.” The study appears in the April issue of the Journal of Athletic Training, the scientific publication of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association. For more information, contact Adam Jones, UA Strategic Communications, at adam.jones@ua.edu. 

FROM SMALL TOWN TO MAYO CLINIC, GRADUATE DRIVEN TO BOOST RURAL HEALTH — Mason Aldridge found his passion to help others after experiencing rural health care firsthand with family members. However, it wasn’t the doctors who influenced him; it was the nursing staff who comforted the family. Through the Rural Health Scholars program, Aldridge found his way to the Capstone College of Nursing. He founded The Rural Health Project, a nonprofit educational program for rural areas. Aldridge will graduate May 6 with a bachelor’s degree in nursing before going on to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. For more information, contact Caroline Gazzara-McKenzie, UA Strategic Communications, at caroline.mckenzie@ua.edu 

WORLD CHAMPION WATER SKIER, GRADUATE LEADS BY EXAMPLE Sean Hunter, a native of Dothan, has embodied numerous leadership traits for many years as one of the best slalom water skiers in the world, winning numerous championships, setting records and becoming a world champion along the way. Hunter, who is president of the UA Water Ski Team, started water skiing at 4 years old and won his first national title at age 10. He is the current slalom water ski world champion for the 21-and-under age division. Hunter will graduate from UA with a bachelor’s degree in operations management May 6. For more information, contact Bryant Welbourne, UA Strategic Communications, at bryant.welbourne@ua.edu. 

VETERAN FINDS NEW PASSION TO BRING CREATIVITY TO TUSCALOOSASeth Warren, a Tuscaloosa native, had attended a few higher education institutions before thinking school wasn’t for him. He fell in love with woodworking and fabrication in his 20s before enlisting in the U.S. Army. After an injury cut his military career short, Warren asked himself what he wanted to do, and the answer was simple: Go back to school. He will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in interior design May 6. For more information, contact Caroline Gazzara-McKenzie, UA Strategic Communications, at caroline.mckenzie@ua.edu.  

MOTHER’S DAY MEANS MORE THIS YEAR TO RESILIENT LAW GRADUATE When Aaliyah Locke first held her son five years ago, she made a promise to herself that she would do whatever it took to succeed. Now, Locke is about to earn her Juris Doctor degree on Mother’s Day, with her son cheering her on from the stands. After graduation, the 25-year-old will work at Baker Donaldson in Birmingham this fall. For more information, contact Caroline Gazzara-McKenzie, UA Strategic Communications, at caroline.mckenzie@ua.edu. 

EVENTS   

SPRING 2022 COMMENCEMENT — The University of Alabama will host commencement ceremonies May 6-8. Nearly 5,000 candidates are expected to attend. The media is invited to the 1:30 p.m. ceremony Friday, May 6. All eight ceremonies will stream live on the commencement website. For more information, contact Caroline Gazzara-McKenzie, UA Strategic Communications, at caroline.mckenzie@ua.edu.

CURRENT COMMENT   

NEW DISCOVERIES AT HISTORIC NOTRE DAME Archaeologists from the French national institute of preventative archaeology recently made major discoveries in an excavation at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. In addition to a tomb that likely contains a 14th-century high-ranking cleric, they have found numerous fragments of the mid-13th century choir screen, or jubé, that was once installed in the cathedral. Jennifer Feltman, assistant professor of art history at UA and member of an international team contributing to the historic building’s restoration, says the discoveries are monumental. “The discovery of the 13th-century sculptures is extremely exciting,” said Feltman. “They are without a doubt one of the most significant finds related to Notre Dame in the last 50 years. Most importantly, because the sculptures were initially covered in plaster, their original paint has been preserved.” To schedule an interview, contact Feltman at jmfeltman@ua.edu 

NEW APP WANTS PEOPLE TO BE REAL — A new social media app, which claims to allow users to share their real life once per day, is growing in popularity. The “BeReal” app does not allow users to edit photos or use filters. “BeReal is based on a premise that will be intriguing to many — no filters,” said Jessica Maddox, assistant professor of journalism and creative media. “But it is still a performance, and still curated, despite its claims. Even though the app doesn’t use filters, individuals can still ‘game’ the system by choosing what two minutes of their day are best for a photo. Everything we do online is mediated and curated, and BeReal is no exception. It is merely mediated and curated behind buzzwords that will appeal to many.” To schedule an interview, contact Maddox at jlmaddox@ua.edu. 

THOSE PESKY ANTS — Red Imported Fire Ants, which become active when the soil and temperatures start to warm, are busy building mounds in yards across Alabama. “Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot you can do to get rid of them,” said Dr. John Abbott, chief curator and director of museum research and collections at the Alabama Museum of Natural History. “There are a number of biological control measures that have been working. These include parasitic head-decapitating flies and nematode worms. Research labs have reared these and released them in the environment, but you can’t do anything to really attract them or introduce them to your yard.” To schedule an interview, contact Abbott at jabbott1@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.