UA In the News — May 18

When the Lab Rat is a Snake
New York Times – May 17
As Amit Choudhary opened the package of snake blood, the first thing he noticed was its color. It looked like yogurt. The blood plasma, harvested from a Burmese python shortly after feeding, was so clogged with fatty acids that it was not clear but milky white. An oily mess like that should be toxic, Choudhary thought …  In fact, the details of its digestive tract and their implications for our understanding of metabolism were more or less ignored for 60 years, until a young biologist named Stephen Secor started tracking rattlesnakes in the Mojave Desert … Secor now runs his own lab, bustling with reptiles, at the University of Alabama, in Tuscaloosa.

UA Astrobotics Team prepares for NASA Competition
Fox 6 (Birmingham) – May 17
The University of Alabama’s robotics team has won this competition multiple times. This year, they’ve got a new feature, a light that flashes whenever the robot is operating by itself.

UA and Tuscaloosa County Schools Team Up to improve math skills for students
Fox 6 (Birmingham) – May 16
This research was found in a 1999 dissertation. UA researchers wanted to explore a math teaching model that would switch things up. Several teachers participated in this two year program. A big take away is versatility in their teaching technique. One method that was taught was special education teachers and general education teachers dividing the class to teach math.

Alabama unveils statue to honor Kevin Turner
Montgomery Advertiser – May 16
A new sculpture of the late Crimson Tide and NFL fullback Kevin Turner crafted by a friend and teammate is now on display in Tuscaloosa. The Tuscaloosa News reports) that the piece titled “Open Field” is on display at the Paul W. Bryant Museum at the University of Alabama.
ABC 33/40 (Birmingham) – May 17
CBS 5 (Mobile) – May 17
WJTC-UTV (Mobile) – May 17
WPMI-NBC (Mobile) – May 17
The overlooked argument that could save a death row inmate’s life – May 17
The Supreme Court recently heard the case of an Alabama death row inmate, James McWilliams. A thus far overlooked argument could save his life and help level the playing field in other capital cases. (By Fredrick Vars, a professor at the University of Alabama School of Law. An expanded version of this article is forthcoming in the Washington & Lee Law Review Online.)

The language of barbecue
Tuscaloosa News – May 17
At lunchtime on Wednesday, people lined up in the parking lot between Bryant-Denny Stadium and Reese Phifer Hall for free plates of barbecue and sides dished up by a University of Alabama assistant professor and his students. The communications class spent Wednesday morning preparing the meat in smokers. The diners and cooks chatted across folding tables spread with pork butts, beef brisket, smoked chickens, ribs and sausage. Diners retreated to shade trees, tailgates and electrical boxes to eat the sampling of different styles.
Fox 6 (Birmingham) – May 17
WVUA (Tuscaloosa) – May 17
NBC 5 (Memphis, Tennessee) – May 17
New Residence Hall being built at UA
Fox 6 (Birmingham) – May 17
More students can live on The University of Alabama campus starting next year. A new dorm will be done by 2018 near Lakeside dining on the north side of campus. It should hold about 494 beds. It will be coed with men and women on separate floors.

Longtime UA employee recognized for service
Tuscaloosa News – May 17
Longtime University of Alabama athletics department employee Judy Tanner received the Rotary Rose from the Rotary Club of Tuscaloosa during its weekly meeting Tuesday. Tanner began work at UA in 1976 and served as administrative assistant to Mal Moore and Bill Battle during their tenures as director of athletics. She continues to work with Battle in his position as a special assistant to the president of the university.

Health Matters: Depression
WVUA (Tuscaloosa) – May 17
May is Mental Health Awareness month, and this month on Health Matters, we’re talking about a variety of mental health issues. All of us at some point, feel down, sad, or not as happy as we would like to be. It can be anxiety provoking to think about seeing someone and talking about those types of things, but it doesn’t need to be. Let’s talk with Dr. Caroline Boxmeyer, a clinical psychologist at the University Medical Center, about how she would assess happiness, depression, sadness and lifestyle.

University Students to Evaluate Designs in NASA’s Astronaut Training Pool
Forward Geek – May 17
Thirty-one student teams from across the country will test their designs in simulated microgravity this year as part of NASA’s Micro-g Neutral Buoyancy Experiment Design Teams (Micro-g NExT) activity. Test sessions will be May 22-27 and June 5-10 … Schools participating during the May 22-27 test week are: University of Alabama Tuscaloosa in Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Boise State University in Boise, Idaho; Coastal Bend Community College in Beeville, Texas.

Locals inducted into honor society
Village Sun Times (Nebraska) – May 17
The following local residents recently were initiated into The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s oldest and most selective all-discipline collegiate honor society: Brianna Bankson of Hordville was initiated at Nebraska Wesleyan University and Joel Ketner of Seward was initiated at Nebraska Wesleyan University. Jacqueline Visina of Edmond has been inducted into The University of Alabama’s chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.

Blind middle school student wins state literature award
WAFF-NBC (Huntsville) – May 17
If you want to keep up with 12-year-old Julia Flemming, you better have your running shoes on. She’s in a hurry to get where she’s going, without worrying about any obstacles. Notice the cane? Yes, Julia is blind…The latest accomplishment for the sixth grader, she won a state literature title in Alabama for students in grades four through six. They had to take book they read and write a letter to the author who wrote it, explaining how it impacted their lives …This is video of her reading her letter at the competition at The University of Alabama in late February.



The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.