Winter Updates

UA News for the Division of Community Affairs Board of Advisors


[MARCH 2023]

To connect you with what’s happening at the Capstone, we’ve gathered some recent news that may be of interest to you as alumni and as members of the Board of Advisors.

We plan to publish periodically, not only to keep you informed of what’s happening on campus, but also of what’s happening in the world of the BOA membership.


UA Named a Student Fulbright Top Producer.

The University of Alabama has been recognized as a Top Producing Institution for Fulbright U.S. Student Awards for the sixth time in eight years.

> Learn more.

Two Transformative Initiatives Honor Sen. Shelby’s Historic Support.

Two distinct initiatives approved today by The University of Alabama System Board of Trustees will enhance UA’s mission to educate tomorrow’s leaders and innovators, thanks to the visionary leadership of recently retired U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby.

> Learn more.

White House Historian, UA Alumnus Discussed Famed Home.

Stewart McLaurin, president of the White House Historical Association and University of Alabama alumnus, provided a talk about the history of the association and famous residence March 1 on the UA campus.

> Learn more.
2101021, Rohan Sood Aerospace shoot

UA Partners with Air Force to Explore Space Innovation.

Researchers at The University of Alabama are exploring how a single spacecraft could service several satellites orbiting the Earth in one trip, potentially extending the mission of the satellites.

> Learn more.

Core Curriculum Reform Advancing.

Efforts to update the general education curriculum at The University of Alabama continue, with the appointment of Dr. Chapman Greer as associate provost for general education and the formation and launch of a steering committee with sub-committees seated with faculty and staff.

> Learn more.

UA Asian American and Pacific Islander Association Launch Celebration.

The UA community celebrated the launch of the Asian American and Pacific Islander Association, an employee resource group, with a special event on Feb. 7.

> Learn more.

UADM Raises More Than $201,000 for Children’s of Alabama.

The University of Alabama Dance Marathon raised $201,413 over the past year for Children’s of Alabama.

> Learn more.

6 Students, 3 Faculty Receive Premier Awards, UA’s Top Honors.

The University of Alabama recognizes six students and three faculty members for their outstanding contributions to the Capstone. The Premier Awards honor students, faculty and staff who exemplify the highest standards of scholarship, service, leadership and character.

> Learn more.

Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame to Induct 2023 Class.

The following individuals will join the 215 who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame since its founding in 1987: Angel “Rey” Almodóvar, of Huntsville; Dr. Stuart Bell, of Tuscaloosa; Milton Davis Jr., of Birmingham; Tim McCartney, of Gadsden; Thomas Talbot, formerly of Birmingham; and Michael Wicks, of Huntsville.

> Learn more.

UA Programs Receive Support to Help Alabama’s Children.

The Alabama Department of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention has awarded $2,197,000 to community-based programs that are dedicated to the prevention of child abuse and neglect in Alabama’s Seventh Congressional District.

> Learn more.

UA Students, Faculty Explore India Through Gandhi-King Initiative.

A group from The University of Alabama and Alabama A&M University traveled to India in early January as part of the first ever Gandhi-King Scholarly Exchange Initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

> Learn more.

Culverhouse Associate Dean Appointed to Branch of Atlanta Fed Board.

A longtime economics researcher at The University of Alabama is part of the Federal Reserve System Boards of Directors, joining about 300 people playing a critical role in the effective functioning of the United States central banking system.

> Learn more.

Dial for Tuning Dopamine, Environmental Signals Found in Parkinson’s.

Researchers at The University of Alabama identified a critical mechanism for how signals from the environment are integrated with genetic information to influence the health and survival of brain cells, providing a key insight into the development of Parkinson’s disease.

> Learn more.

UA Engineering Student Selected for Prestigious Aerospace Fellowship.

Lilly Saub, a University of Alabama junior majoring in aerospace engineering, is one of 47 undergraduate students in the nation selected for the Brooke Owens Fellowship, a nationally acclaimed nonprofit program that awards exceptional women and gender minorities with an internship in the fields of space and aviation.

> Learn more.

UA Student Receives Boren Scholarship to Study in Brazil.

University of Alabama student Sean Atchison has received a Boren Scholarship for the study of languages in world regions critical to U.S. interests and underrepresented in study abroad.

> Learn more.

Realizing the Dream Concert Featured Acclaimed Gospel Artist Tasha Cobbs Leonard.

GRAMMY® Award-winning singer and songwriter Tasha Cobbs Leonard brought a top-notch performance to the 33rd Realizing the Dream Concert on Jan. 15. Her powerful voice and message drew a sellout crowd to Moody Music Concert Hall to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

> Learn more.

Honoré Stresses Importance of Leadership During Banquet Honoring Legacy Award Recipients.

In remarks at the Bryant Conference Center during which three individuals received Realizing the Dream Legacy awards, Retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honoré urged his audience to be leaders in their own lives

> Learn more.

Middle Schoolers Demonstrate ‘Science in Action’ During 2023 STEM Showcase.

The Tuscaloosa community rallied to support middle schoolers’ scientific discoveries during the 2023 STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Showcase on Jan. 28 at the Bryant Conference Center, during which the winning projects were also announced.

> Learn more.

The Crossroads Civic Engagement Center has embarked on a multi-year project

to visit civic organizations across Alabama’s 67 counties. The goals for this initiative include building a network of civic leaders in Alabama, supporting local community associations, and sharing stories of the ongoing civic engagement efforts at the Capstone. Crossroads staff recently presented at the Jasper Rotary Club, Tuscaloosa Exchange Club, Enterprise Rotary Club, and Tuscaloosa League of Women Voters. To participate in this initiative, BOA members living in Alabama can contact Assistant Director Dr. Jackson Harris at to connect their county’s civic organization with Crossroads.

The Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship's

latest special issue, Engaged Scholarship: Sharing Views of Possible Futures for Extension and University-Wide Engagement is now available online.

> Learn more.

Dr. Daniela Susnara represented BLAST Academy

in a Round 2 interview for an Arts in Education Grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts, from which the 2023 BLAST Academy was awarded a grant in the amount of $2,300. Additionally, Susnara secured a $1,000 Walmart Community Grant to support the 2023 Swim to the Top program.

Dr. Samory Pruitt represented UA

by serving as one of four Grand Marshalls for the West Alabama Christmas Parade on Dec. 5, 2022.

Woman smiling in front of a blurred background

Join us in welcoming...

Charli Smith, who is joining Community Affairs as the administrative assistant in the Office of the Vice President for Community Affairs. In this role, she will provide high-level and confidential administrative support; will manage the Office of the Vice President for Community Affairs; and will oversee the maintenance of files, records and reports. She also serves as liaison to a diverse group including the administration, faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni and/or donors, key stakeholders and community partners. She earned the Bachelor of Arts degree in English with an emphasis in creative writing from The University of Alabama and the A.A.S. degree in drafting and design from Wallace State Community College.


Meet Jessica Sanders Walker,

who recently accepted a nomination to join the Community Affairs Board of Advisors. She is vice president of operations at Sanders Aviation and Sanders Flight Training Center, a certified Part 141 flight training school that has grown from a small operation to a large-scale flight training school that boasts 20 airplanes, trains nearly 1,000 students each year and prepares them for commercial airline positions. To build a pipeline for the next generation of aviation professionals, Walker recently started Operation Aviation Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to introducing underrepresented individuals and underserved communities to aviation careers. Walker earned a BA degree in political science and government from The University of Alabama in 2007 and a master of public administration degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2010.

Meet Clay Armentrout,

who recently accepted a nomination to join the Community Affairs Board of Advisors. Armentrout earned a BA in political science and government with a minor in computing technology and applications from The University of Alabama in 2012. He went on to earn his law degree from the Wake Forest University School of Law in 2015. He previously served as legislative director and counsel in the office of now-retired U.S. Senator Richard Shelby, and now serves as chief of staff for U.S. Senator Katie Britt.


Inaugural BOA president Katie Britt

was sworn in as a U.S. Senator representing Alabama on Jan. 3, filling the seat formerly held by retired Sen. Richard Shelby.

Congratulations to Dr. Porcia Love,

who represented the BOA Public Health Committee at The McCollough Institute for Pre-Medical Scholars forum on Feb. 10. The McCollough Institute for Pre-Medical Scholars is part of UA’s College of Arts and Sciences.

BOA member Brodie Croyle,

executive director of Big Oak Ranch, a Christian home for abused, neglected, orphaned and abandoned children, will serve in a mentorship role to the organizers of Freedom Farm, a new foster-care facility to be located in Coker, Alabama.

> Learn more.

As BOA members are also UA graduates, we know how invaluable your experience as UA alumni has been.

If you have not already done so, please consider participating in your local alumni chapter.

> Learn more.

Have news to share with us?

If you have not already done so, we encourage you to follow us on Twitter at @UACommAffairs, on Facebook at @UACommunityAffairs and at @UA.CCBP and on Instagram at @ua_community_affairs

Additionally, did you know the Board of Advisors has its own Facebook group page? This is a place for you to connect with your fellow board members, as well as share news of potential interest to members of the group. Search “ua community affairs board of advisors” and ask to join the group. We’ll approve you right away!

You can follow the initiatives and news of the Division of Community Affairs on the web at Your Board of Advisors web pages live here under the Community Collaborations link.