REUNION SPRING/summer 2011
touching lives through lifelong learning
College of Human Environmental Sciences
if c and w a a s I n h so
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Bailey met CSM faculty member Caroline Fulmer when he visited the UA campus for signing day.
As a distance education student hailing from Leeds, Alabama, but
residing and working in Atlanta, Lee Bailey rarely gets to walk up the steps to Doster Hall. But, as a season ticket holder and member of the Red Elephant Club, Bailey was invited to National Signing Day in the spring and took the opportunity to meet his faculty in the Department of Consumer Sciences. Bailey will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Consumer Affairs in August 2012, and he plans to pursue the University Scholar’s Program to begin work on a graduate degree. He offered advice and encouragement for any prospective student considering completing a degree via distance education: What prompted you to pursue completion of your degree via distance education? First, it is something I left on the table years ago. I have always wanted to finish school. The opportunity at UA was just too great to pass up. Graduating from The University of Alabama and continuing to get my Masters in Finance is really something very special. As a bonus, my son Isaac will get to see me walk at graduation, and I think that is important for him to see. How did you balance your work life, family life, and pursuit of the distance degree? Both my wife Judi and my company have been flexible and have really encouraged me to reach any goals I have in education. What advice would you give to prospective students seeking a degree via distance education? My first advice is to not worry about how you’re going to juggle it all.
The instructors in CHES are second to none. They care so much and are extremely helpful with questions and getting oriented to the “classroom” setting. Make certain the people you surround yourself with are supportive. I could not have done this without support from key people. You will find it worthwhile no matter how far away you are from graduating. What you learn each semester gets applied no matter where you work. I am amazed each semester at the knowledge that I can apply right away. There truly is nothing you cannot accomplish if you are improving yourself every day. It’s a great feeling. What unexpected benefit in your personal life or career have you derived from pursuing the distance degree? The instructors in CHES are second to none. They care so much and are extremely helpful with questions and getting oriented to the “classroom” setting. I get value every semester in the workplace, and I am becoming more and more valuable to my employer each semester. No matter how long you have been away from school you can accomplish this. Any final thoughts you would like to share with alumni and fellow students? I do want to specifically thank Ms. Fulmer and my advisor/instructor, Ms. Pentecost in CHES. They have been truly special. I believe The University of Alabama is just an incredible opportunity for anyone looking to improve their standing in the workforce. The people are great, and anyone you call with a question, no matter how trivial, does their best to help. The staff is engaging and always upbeat. I appreciate this about UA. I have found a home in CHES, and I am so excited about getting into the Masters program. I would like to thank everyone for being truly special and making a difference in my life. Roll Tide!
Dear Alumni, Friends, and Prospective Students, The College of Human Environmental Sciences has been touched by the outpouring of support for our city and our citizens in the aftermath of the tornado that tore through the heart of Tuscaloosa on April 27, 2011. Immediately following the storm, our HES faculty, staff, and students were in the community volunteering and helping those who were touched by this natural disaster. In the days and weeks that followed, we heard from our alumni and friends, all asking one question, “How can I help?” We thank each of our alumni and friends of UA for caring deeply about those affected by this disaster. Even though this has been a difficult period, the Alabama spirit has been apparent in the relief efforts. We will continue to reach out and will continue to be the Crimson Tide. As our community begins the rebuilding process, we do want to recognize the tremendous opportunities for students in HES. The College’s commitment to lifelong learning is celebrated in this issue of Reunion. Students of all ages in HES participate in courses on campus, as well as through innovative distance education programs. We currently offer seven undergraduate degree programs available online and five graduate programs. One other degree program is available with a combination of distance deliveries. Please visit our website to learn more about our distance degree programs - http://www.ches.ua.edu/distance. Current HES student Lee Bailey and alumnus Lee Allen Hallman are proof that pursuit of a degree is not age-restricted. Both Bailey and Hallman turned to HES when each set a personal goal of completing a degree program despite already successful careers. As you will see, our research faculty pride themselves on mentoring undergraduate and graduate students alike and fostering the careers of future researchers. You will read the profiles of our outstanding alumni who set out on their respective career paths with a strong foundation due to the guidance of current and former HES faculty and staff. Our faculty members look forward to hearing from you and answering any questions you may have about CHES and our degree programs. Campus visits are welcomed, and you may schedule a visit by calling 205-348-6250. We invite you to reunite with faculty and alumni at Homecoming festivities this fall, which is scheduled for October 8, 2011. Please look for correspondence from the College regarding our events for Homecoming weekend. We look forward to hearing from you, online and on campus. Please follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ua.hes, and via Twitter at www. twitter.com/ua_hes. You can also stay current with HES activities by simply accessing our website, www.ches.ua.edu or scanning the QR code.
touching lives through lifelong learning
College of Human Environmental Sciences Features
College of Human Environmental Sciences Box 870158, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0158 Phone: 205.348.6250 Fax: 205.348.3789 Student Services: 205.348.6150
IFC Lee Bailey 3 Anthony Williams Departments: 4 Anthony Williams Reception Athletic Training Education Program (ATEP) 106 East Annex; Box 870311 5 Johna Register-Mihalik Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35487-0311 Phone: 205.348.8683 6 Kimberly Reynolds Fax: 205.348.7568 7 Ann Sanders Woodyard Department of Consumer Sciences Adams 212; Box 870158 8 Rock the Runway Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35487 Phone: 205.348.6178 9 Janet Gurwitch Fax: 205.348.8721 10 Lee Green Department of Clothing, Textiles, and Interior Design 11 Stuart Usdan 307 Doster Hall; Box 870158 Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35487-0158 12 HES Homecoming Phone: 205.348.6176 Fax: 205.348.3789 14 HES Awards, Breakfast Department of Human Development 15 Interior Design and Family Studies 214 Child Development Research Center; Box 870160 16 Rabbit Sculpture Dedication Leadership Board
17 Stanley Hu 18 Lysa Parker 19 Jason Scofield 20 Ellyn Elson 21 Jeannine Lawrence 22 Sonya Odell 23 Kristin Maki 24 Brad Darden IBC Lee Hallman
Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35487-0160 Phone: 205.348.6158 Fax: 205.348.8153
Department of Health Science Box 870311 Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0311 Phone: 205.348.8371 Fax: 205.348.7568 Department of Human Nutrition and Hospitality Management 206 Doster Hall; Box 870158 Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35487-0158 Phone: 205.348.6157 Fax: 205.348.3789 Follow us on Facebook and Twitter: www.facebook.com/ua.hes www.twitter.com/ua_hes
nthony Williams makes UA look good, but it would be hard for the recent CHES graduate and Project Runway Season 7 contestant to do anything else. Williams, a Birmingham native, brought both glamour and humor to the show, infusing each challenge with his own brand of wit and creativity that could be seen in his garments and heard in his interviews. This was nothing new for Williams, who acknowledges that his life’s goal has always been to surround himself with glamour and excellence. However, he is also quick to point out that he understands the importance of hard work, and his drive to succeed was one of the things that brought him to UA. While working at a bridal boutique, Williams had the opportunity to speak with a UA alumna, who introduced him to the possibility of studying in the Clothing, Textiles and Interior Design department at UA. “I realized that attending The University of Alabama was my destiny and responsibility,” said Williams. “After a tour of the campus and meeting the staff, there wasn’t any doubt that I should attend the college and shake up the campus. The process was not easy but it was truly worth it.” Williams made certain he shook up UA campus, and showed just how much he could do that during his participation in the annual Tee Time Fashion Show. The show, which challenges students to construct garments from oversized white tee shirts, was an opportunity for Williams to show everyone his capability as a designer and an innovator. “The first year I participated was interesting only because I stepped out of the box and created a more avant-garde piece,” said Williams, who continues to spend his time making clothing that is both modern and classic and with a flare all his own. “I remember a fellow student telling me that it would not sell because it was so different. My garment sold first and for the most money. I learned in that moment, fashion wars are won through actions and not through argument.” Williams continued to show off his creativity and animated personality as a contestant and entertainer on Project Runway. The reality show, hosted by model Heidi Klum, gave Williams a chance to expand his design abilities and to demonstrate to an even larger audience just how much he is capable of creating. The challenges that Williams faced on Project Runway were distinctly different than the challenges he faced at UA, but the aspiring designer and television host says that his time as a student in CHES prepared him in many ways for the show. Williams knows he has always been a natural designer, and that was apparent even as a student. He continues to take risks and design clothes that push boundaries. Luckily for Williams, an innovative style and inspiration were just what he needed to win a particular Project Runway challenge that landed him on the cover of Marie Claire magazine. Williams’ little blue dress - made famous by Klum - appeared on the April 2010 cover of the magazine. The opportunity to showcase a design on a prominent national magazine, and the chance to appear on Project Runway have helped Williams publicize the career he began when he launched his first line of clothing while still an UA student.
Since the conclusion of the show, Williams has continued to design and create more clothing, as well as to cultivate his creativity in other areas, including television. “War and Project Runway are hell!” joked Williams, who understands the importance of the exposure the show gave him. “Obviously it was a new experience, but absolutely amazing, non the less. I think life after Project Runway has been more challenging than the actual competition!” Now living in Atlanta, Williams works as an image consultant and continues to design, but he also takes opportunities to return to UA campus and speak to students about his experience on the reality show and to talk about the importance of his participation in the CHES design program.
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Anthony Williams Reception
Anthony Williams charms students and guests at a CHES reception given in his honor. The Project Runway season 7 contestant and CHES graduate is currently working as an image consultant and continues to design womenâ€™s clothing. 4 | COLLEGE OF HUMAN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES
“I am a fan of Alabama because of the friendships, professionalism and education I was able to take away.”
Johna Register-Malik Recent news stories have described what can be the devastating
aftermath of brain injuries suffered by professional athletes. However according to Dr. Johna Register-Mihalik, even injuries most coaches and players may consider minor can have harmful effects on professional, collegiate and amateur athletes. Register-Mihalik, a graduate of CHES’s Athletic Training program and a graduate of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, focuses her research and efforts on examining and communicating these dangers to all types of sports participants. Recently, she has published numerous papers on the topic of sports related brain injury, examining outcomes such as balance, headache and recovery time after injury. “Research is wonderful and it can answer a lot of questions,” said Register-Mihalik, “but research alone doesn’t prevent or treat injuries.” This outlook is one of the reasons Register-Mihalik has completed her most recent study. In this study, Register-Mihalik and her associates at Chapel Hill investigated the knowledge, beliefs and attitudes of high school athletes and coaches toward concussion. “Some of my research has taken a public health and health science approach, looking at younger athletes’ attitude and knowledge about concussion,” said Register-Mihalik. “The way we would like to see it ultimately applied is for people to start paying attention to these injuries, no matter how minor they think they might be, and start talking about it. I want to be sure that people at all levels of sports recognize it is an issue – that concussion is brain injury and should be treated as such.” As a former athlete herself, Register-Mihalik came to UA with a passion for sports and focused course of study. During her time in CHES, Register-Mihalik had the opportunity to work with different UA athletic teams and developed a special interest in preventing injury, especially as she observed the number of youth participating in sports continuing to grow. “The University of Alabama provided the framework that I needed to take myself to the next level in my field,” Register-Mihalik said. “I think the faculty in CHES do a great job encouraging students to pursue their education and career at the next level, whether that be research, teaching or anything else. Alabama provides the framework for people to pursue what works for them.”
Dr. Johna Register-Mihalik, CHES graduate and University of Chapel Hill faculty member, focuses her research on brain injuries related to sports. Her work is helping researchers, coaches, athletes and parents build awareness of a growing problem and helping to prevent this type of injury in the future.
For Register-Mihalik, that pursuit led her to Chapel Hill while she was still an undergraduate at Alabama. Under the guidance of Dr. Deidre Leaver-Dunn, Associate Professor and Director of the Athletic Training Education Program (ATEP), Register-Mihalik spent a portion of an undergraduate summer studying and working under Dr. Kevin Guskiewicz at Chapel Hill, who would go on to become her graduate advisor and mentor. “It was really through the help of Dr. Leaver-Dunn that I came to be at Chapel Hill,” said Register-Mihalik. “I think UA does an excellent job of setting students up for internships. Everything about Alabama promotes the pursuit of professionalism and collaboration.” Now that she has completed and defended her dissertation, RegisterMihalik is looking forward to the opportunity to continue communicating her research to others, including university students. “I would like to continue to work within an athletic training education program and continue research taking a public health approach,” Register-Mihalik said. “It allows me to be a teacher through my research so that I am giving back to the profession of Athletic Training and educating people. Being an educator and a researcher can be difficult in academia; being at UA helped me understand that balance.” As an UA graduate, Dr. Register-Mihalik will admit that she is a football fan, but she is a fan of the University for reasons beyond what most see on Saturday afternoons in the fall. “I am a fan of Alabama because of the friendships, professionalism and education I was able to take away,” Register-Mihalik said. “Connections helped to bring me here and to have these opportunities. There are bridges that can be built from places you never expect.”
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Financial Advisor Kimberly Reynolds uses her graduate degree in Consumer Sciences to build financial security and independence for her clients at The Welch Group.
“The CHES Certified Financial Planning program is well developed and structured in a way that the classes are truly geared toward having someone graduate and be able to start their career at that point.”
imberly Reynolds, a Certified Financial Planner and CHES graduate, sees her job as one where she has the unique opportunity to combine her skills in communications and finance. The Senior Advisor at The Welch Group in Birmingham, Ala. works directly with clients to assure that their financial plans align with their plans for retirement and providing for future generations as well. Reynolds’ career began when she was a recent UA graduate and a public relations intern working in CHES. There, her then mentor, Jan Brakefield, introduced her to the master’s program in Family Financial Planning and Counseling. “I had always had an interest in finance and I liked that this degree would give me the ability to still utilize the communications skills I developed as an undergraduate,” said Reynolds. “My motivation to work with people had led me into public relations, and in financial planning there is still that same aspect of working with people.” Close to the end of her degree, Reynolds was chosen by The Welch Group to complete the internship for her master’s program, and was then hired for a full-time position. In the beginning of her career, Reynolds worked as an assistant to the established financial advisors, learning quickly how to gather client information and work on client investments behind the scenes. With clear enthusiasm for her job, she quickly moved up, earning more responsibilities and soon developing relationships with her own clients. “The CHES Certified Financial Planning program is well developed and structured in a way that the classes are truly geared toward having someone graduate and be able to start their career at that point,” said Reynolds. “I did training with my individual firm, to see how they operate, but I felt I was prepared to jump into this job and be able to implement everything I knew. That was in large part because of the teaching and the development from the CFP program.”
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As a graduate student in CHES, Reynolds worked as a teaching assistant, instructing freshman orientation classes, assisting professors in the classroom and continuing to write press releases for CHES. Her experience in the classroom as a student and an instructor at UA opened the door for Reynolds to serve as an adjunct instructor after completing her degree. Reynolds taught a course in income tax planning management and found that her own student experience in CHES and the real-world experience she was gaining in her career gave her the background she needed to effectively teach students. “I truly enjoy working with students and teaching college courses was a great experience,” said Reynolds. “To teach and be able to use experiences from working in the field was the perfect combination. I used the textbook as the foundation of the coursework, but I was able to bring in cases I was working on as an advisor and incorporate that with the textbook. It was a great experience and it kept me – particularly my knowledge level – up to date on the latest information.” Alongside her work with students as an instructor, Reynolds has found opportunities to work with UA students outside of the traditional classroom setting, now as an internship advisor. Similar to her experience during a graduate internship while at UA, Reynolds works with graduate and undergraduate students interested in pursuing a career like hers. She can be confident that they will be able to perform the skills needed to be successful, due in large part to their education at UA. Students who complete the Family Financial Planning and Counseling program in CHES are eligible to sit for the Certified Financial Planner designation upon graduation, the option that Reynolds took when she completed her coursework. “I felt like I was fully prepared to take the CFP exam and begin working with clients as soon as I got out of school and into my career,” Reynolds added. “The program in CHES sets students up to succeed in this field, and I am sure that it helped me to do exactly that.”
“My goal is for my research to translate to the field and assist consumers and families.”
Ann Sanders Woodyard A
Consumer Sciences faculty member Dr. Ann Sanders Woodyard teaches students and community members the importance of financial wellness and independence. Woodyard’s research investigates the connection between giving and personal health.
s one of the newest professors in the CHES Department of Consumer Sciences, Dr. Ann Sanders Woodyard has already made a big impression. Woodyard joined the CHES faculty in fall of 2009, immediately after completing her doctoral studies at Kansas State University, where her research centered on charitable giving and personal wellness in finances. “My dissertation at Kansas State focused on the effect of charitable activity, such as giving and volunteering, on a person’s feelings about their own wellness,” said Woodyard. Woodyard found that the more a person gives of their time, money or other resources, the greater their perceived degree of personal health. “What I found is that charitable giving is one of the things that makes a person well,” said Woodyard. “People who give their time or money or both have a higher degree of perceived personal wellness. Giving back to others is part of what makes an individual happy and healthy. “It was interesting to see that giving had such a profound effect on perceived personal health,” added Woodyard. Another of Woodyard’s recent projects looked at religiosity and financial issues. “We wanted to look at people and determine their degree of religiosity, then see how that affected their risk tolerance and how much risk they were willing to take with their personal wealth. At this point it looks like our research raised more questions than provided answers.” Woodyard had the opportunity to work on this project and others with colleagues from Kansas State. “As faculty members at UA, we are encouraged to be involved in academic organizations, to share research and collaborate on new ideas,” said Woodyard. “This encouragement allows us to do collaborative research with other institutions that finds its way to the field and can make an impact.” Before coming to Tuscaloosa, Woodyard was involved in many organizations and activities where she had the opportunity to give to
the community. She worked with personal investing, donated her time and skills to the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas and taught financial wellness courses at her church for couples planning to be married. “We are in a climate where we have so much control over our own finances now, due to changes in pension systems and health care,” said Woodyard. “People are much more interested in learning about how they can invest and grow their personal wealth than we were even 10 years ago. I enjoy working with people who are learning how to make their own decisions and how empowered they can be in determining what course their lives will take.” Woodyard continues to give of herself in the Tuscaloosa and UA communities. She has become involved in professional, civic and religious organizations, as well as working with student groups at UA. “It is amazing to see how involved students are getting in organizations, as well as in their own personal finances now,” said Woodyard. Woodyard has been working with groups of graduate and undergraduate students in and out of the classroom since her arrival at UA. One activity where she has seen UA students putting their classroom skills into practical application is through her role as the advisor for the Capstone Financial Planning Association. “Students are increasingly more concerned with becoming independent,” said Woodyard. “I think for a long time the interaction between students and parents was that children didn’t ask a lot of questions. It was ‘this is what I need’ and their parents were able to provide. Now there is a different type of transaction.” Woodyard has incorporated research and teaching to the advantage of her students. “Teaching and research complement each other so well,” said Woodyard. “My goal is for my research to translate to the field and assist consumers and families.”
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RocktheRunway Rock the Runway showcases the work of students majoring in Apparel Design.
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“I like a very exciting fast life, and it happens that retailing, cosmetics and fashion provides that at the top.”
“ aura Mercier Cosmetics really began at Neiman Marcus,” said Janet Gurwitch, founder of the successful cosmetics corporation and former Executive Vice President of Neiman Marcus Department Stores. “So many things start at Neiman’s.” Gurwitch, however, got her start as a CHES student studying Fashion Retailing. At UA, she enjoyed the fast-paced life of a student leader by serving as the President of CHES and the Vice President of Associated Women Students; as an executive, Gurwitch has enjoyed the fast-paced life of a woman who has worked her way to the top of her industry and branched out on her own. “I like a very exciting fast life, and it happens that retailing, cosmetics and fashion provides that at the top,” said Gurwitch. “Certainly not starting out, but it took me a long time to get to the front row of a Chanel show in Paris.” Gurwitch did not start her career in fashion as an executive, but with the leadership and guidance of Wilma Greene, then Coordinator of the UA Fashion Retailing program, Gurwitch set in motion her impressive climb to become one of the leaders of her industry. As a young graduate, Gurwitch began her career at Foley’s Department Store as part of the Executive Training Program, working her way up to become the Senior Vice President of Merchandising. “I was very close to Wilma Greene. She was so helpful in helping me plot out a plan to really go after a career very seriously and I am forever grateful to her and that close relationship I had with her,” said Gurwitch. From her position at Foley’s, she went on to serve as the Executive Vice President of Neiman Marcus. It was while working at Neiman Marcus that Gurwitch had the idea to found and develop Laura Mercier Cosmetics. “As a student, I certainly never thought I would be the CEO of my own cosmetics company or the Executive Vice President of Neiman Marcus, just because I didn’t think I had that distance of thinking,” said Gurwitch. “But once I got into the working world I realized that my background at Alabama had prepared me so well, in that I really could perform well.” To build her company, Gurwitch set out to produce a brand of cosmetics with a healthy outlook that would focus on the beauty of skin. She partnered with renowned makeup artist Laura Mercier and over 13 years Gurwitch worked to turn Laura Mercier Cosmetics into one of the most successful high-end cosmetics companies in the world
Janet Gurwitch, founder of Laura Mercier Cosmetics, attributes her success to her innate drive to work and to the guidance of CHES faculty members who helped guide her career as a student at UA. Gurwitch, the former Executive Vice President of Neiman Marcus, held one of her first executive positions as the President of CHES and the Vice President of Associated Women Students.
After selling Laura Mercier in 2008, Gurwitch continues to remain busy. She serves on the Board of Directors for La-Z-Boy as well as Urban Decay Cosmetics and is on the Advisory Board for the Rice University Business School. Although she is no longer directing her own company, Gurwitch manages to remain involved in the industry that she helped to transform as an entrepreneur. “I have loved my entire career, but in the corporate world obviously being the Executive Vice President of Neiman Marcus was my great highlight,” Gurwitch said. “And then in the entrepreneurial world to start a business with an idea in my head and see it sold successfully was wonderful.” She attributes her success in business to her innate drive to excel, hard work and her passion for the business she loves, but Gurwitch also recognizes the guidance she received at UA as a contributor to her success. She continues to stay involved on UA campus as an alumni speaker and through her work with students. She has also set up a fund to commemorate the opportunities she had as a CHES student, and to honor Wilma Greene, her mentor during her time at UA. “I loved all four years in Tuscaloosa it was just such a great time in between high school and real life,” said Gurwitch. “I was fortunate enough to have such a great group of teachers who really set me up to have a world-class career.”
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“I can’t begin to say how instrumental my time at UA was in the success that I am having today.”
CHES graduate Lee Green serves as the Vice President of Moffit Diversity at the Moffit Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla. Green focuses his work on ending healthcare disparity and on the inclusion of minorities in medical treatment and research.
ee Green, Vice President of Moffit Diversity at the Moffit Cancer Center and UA doctoral graduate, was more than elated when he was invited to the White House so that President Bill Clinton could shake his hand. Green received this honor when he was invited to attend the ceremony to formally apologize to survivors of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study. This group of men have been important to Green in many ways since he had the opportunity to work with them while completing his doctoral research in Heath Education and Health Promotion, a joint Ph.D. program between UA and UAB. As amazing as that experience was for Green, who was serving as a UA faculty member at the time, his work encouraging minority participation in health promotion activities, clinical trials and research studies seems to be equally rewarding. Green’s decision to attend UA for his doctoral program is one that he calls a “no brainer.” Having completed two degrees in Health Promotion, Green settled on what was then a new doctoral program in CHES to fulfill his desire for research experience and practical application. “After an extensive search, I settled on UA. It was primarily because when I went to visit I felt like this was a program where I would have the opportunity to design my work to fit my interests,” said Green. “We 10 | COLLEGE OF HUMAN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES
had faculty members with an open door policy - you could speak with them at any opportunity. The other thing that was important to me was that I had a chance not only to learn, but also to apply that knowledge in the real world. They were great at providing opportunities for students to utilize their skills getting the classroom work out there.” Green followed the lead of his professors and mentors at UA, and took his work out of the classroom. As part of his dissertation, Green examined minority health by looking at African American participation and reluctance to be involved in medical situations as simple as visiting a doctor. He examined this reluctance as it relates to critical activities that could mean the difference in early detection of a disease and increasing rates of survival. “I can’t begin to say how instrumental my time at UA was in the success that I am having today,” said Green, who also serves as a Professor in Health Outcomes and Behavior at the University of South Florida. “I can’t imagine being where I am now without the mentorship, the guidance, and without the experience I had at UA.” While a student in CHES, Lee investigated the impact of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study on the participation of African Americans in health activities. His research in this area allowed Lee to work in collaboration with institutions around the country and to begin shaping his current career. “In the Tuskegee study, we saw an example of people in research being treated as human guinea pigs,” said Green. “It is so important when doing research to remember each day that every person in a research study as just that, a person. I do that now in my work, remind myself that numbers aren’t just numbers and data points aren’t just data points – each number is a person. So it is not what I am working to do, it is who I am working to help.” Utilizing much of what he learned in his graduate program, Green now coordinates many programs that encourage minority participation in health behavior activities and offers healthcare screening and medical access to underserved communities. One of these programs is the mobile mammography bus, run through the Moffit Cancer Center, which travels to low income communities and gives free breast cancer screenings to women who otherwise could not afford one. It is Green’s hope that programs like this will help to close gaps in healthcare, and to decrease the incidence of late cancer diagnosis. Green also accomplishes this goal through his work at the Center for Equal Health, a health disparities research center funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health. “There is no question that the foundation of my work was laid at Alabama,” said Green. “My decisions and my work during that time have allowed me to find grant money and to be fully prepared to do the research that I hope will make such a difference in healthcare. It was my work there, with minority health, that really helped to propel me to where I am now.”
r. Stuart Usdan has the unique ability to impact students’ lives in a variety of ways as the new Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, Research and Assessment for CHES. Although his position brings with it an assortment of new responsibilities, Dr. Usdan has always viewed student safety and involvement in research as a top priority. “For the past 10-12 years, I have been doing research with college students,” said Usdan. “A large amount of that research has been on how to develop interventions to protect students from the negative consequences associated with substance abuse and addictive behaviors.” Continuing with that research, Dr. Usdan recently received a twoyear, $263,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education to help develop a comprehensive program aimed at preventing alcohol-related problems among new members of the Greek community. The grant, called Protecting Our Pledges’ Safety or POPS, has given Dr. Usdan the opportunity to involve students in his research on many different levels. As part of the grant, Dr. Usdan and his team – a team consisting largely of graduate research assistants – are working with members of the Alabama fraternity and sorority system to develop messages that can help prevent negative consequences associated with high risk drinking behavior. In order to create these messages, members of the Greek community have been actively involved in the collection of data, in focus groups and in the development of marketing messages that will target pledges in certain fraternity and sorority houses on campus. “The goal of the grant is to have fraternities and sororities develop the messages themselves,” said Usdan. “So, for instance, if it is about drinking and driving, we ask active members of these groups what they would do to prevent this. They are the ones coming up with messages about prevention, and it means more coming from a fraternity member or coming from a big brother or big sister than it does from me or the University.” As a former fraternity member himself, Dr. Usdan understands the unique ability of the Greek system to influence the behavior and protect the safety of new members. He hopes that the protective nature of the Greek system and the large proportion of Alabama students who participate in fraternity and sorority life will help to create a wide range of messages that can be used for all types of student groups. “We have a unique opportunity to partner with the Greek system at Alabama,” said Usdan. “The Greek system is organized and some houses on campus are already implementing strategies like these. We want to take the best ideas out there and make them effective for the new members of these organizations. If they can get something like this going here, it has the potential to work anywhere.”
CHES Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, Research and Assessment Stuart Usdan tries to empower students by working with them to prevent substance abuse. Usdan, who recently won a sizeable grant from the U.S. Department of Education, works closely with fraternity and sorority members at UA to create and spread messages about the negative consequences of drinking.
Dr. Usdan hopes that his work with the Greek system at Alabama can help students realize that the negative consequences of drinking can be a problem for all. “College students are creative. Who knows, they might come up with some sort of text message, or a Facebook page or something else that can be used across campus and on other campuses as well,” said Usdan. “I would love to see that.” Dr. Usdan also recognizes that student input in research can improve the impact of the developed materials. “If we want to make the message believable and credible, it needs to come from the students themselves,” explained Dr. Usdan. “It is empowering for students to be involved in research and to see their comments and input at work. It makes them feel like a part of the campus research community and gives their message that much more impact.” Not only will he continue with his research efforts in the Department of Health Science and will teach selected courses, Dr. Usdan’s new position will allow him to work with other graduate programs in CHES. In this position, Dr. Usdan will assist in grant writing, program development and will coordinate efforts to stimulate research among faculty and graduate students alike – something he is rather familiar with already.
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Left to right, 1) Dean Milla Boschung and UA student Greg Hines; 2) CHES Ambassadors; 3) CHES staff member Leslie Davis and faculty member Hunter Galloway; 4) CHES academic advisor Andrea Wilson and Student Services staff; 5) Dean Boschung with Arthur and Barbara Simon; 6) UA Tartan Design winner Linnzie Rich and family; 7) Paul Boschung and Steve Johnson; 8) Amy Baker-Parton and Doris Burton; 9) Dean Boschung with CHES faculty member Dr. Deidre Leaver-Dunn and Jack Davis recipients; 10) Paul and Milla Boschung; 11) Dr. Leaver-Dunn and Dean Boschung; 12) CHES faculty members Dr. Roy Maize and Dr. Virginia Wimberley with husband John; and 13) Dean Milla Boschung and her mother Ruth Dailey
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Left to right, 1) CHES faculty member Dr. Brian Gordon with daughter Tandra; 2) Food and Nutrition students Mary Alice Shreve and Jody Watson; 3) Dean Milla Boschung greets Steve and Cindy Shaw; 4) Dean Boschung and CHES Students Services staff; 5) CHES faculty member Lori Greene with husband Kevin, son Caleb and daughter Caitlyn; 6) CHES faculty member Dr. Deidre Leaver-Dunn with husband Tracy and son Tayte; 7) Amy Baker-Parton with Steve and Marsha Yessick; 8) Dean Boschung and Amy Baker-Parton; 9) CHES faculty member Dr. Karen Baynes-Dunning with her sons and a family friend; 10) Tayte Dunn; 11) Dean Boschung, Dr. Roy Maize, CHES alum Clay Lewallen and retired faculty member Olivia Kendrick; and 12) CHES faculty member Courtney McGahey with son John Mark.
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Left to right, 1) Recipients of the 2010 Jack Davis Professional Achievement Awards; 2) Dean Milla Boschung awards RHM Assistant Professor Kimberly Boyle with the 2010 Joseph S. Rowland Teaching Excellence Award; 3) CSM faculty member Dr. Cliff Robb with son Hall; 4) Jack Davis Award Recipients with members of the Davis family; 5) Jack Davis Award winners with CSM faculty member Jan Brakefield; 6) Mrs. Dee Davis and Big Al; 7) CHES Ambassadors; 8) CTD students Linnzi Rich, Candace Lucas and Brittany Long stand in front of their tartan designs. The three competed to have their design named the official UA Tartan. Linnzi Rich’s design “We are Crimson” was the winner. 9-11) Current students and alumni celebrate with Big Al; 12) RHM faculty member Dr. Roy Maize talks with Mrs. Dee Davis and her son Clif Davis.
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The Department of Clothing, Textiles and Interior Design celebrated the reaccreditation of the Interior Design program in 2010.
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Provost Judy Bonner and CHES Dean Milla Boschung celebrated the dedication of the rabbit sculpture at the Child Development Research Center with artist Frank Fleming. The rabbit sculpture installation was given on behalf of John L. and Margaret E. Rhoads. A second installment in the garden was completed in late Spring 2011 and will be featured in the next issue.
Members of the 2010-2011 Leadership Board. These alumni and friends of HES serve the College throughout the academic year.
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Stanley Hu takes his education from UA internationally as part of his work for Brown Shoe Company. Hu says he learned adaptability at UA and that has helped him work to his current position as the Director of Production and Operations for the Putian Office.
UA has a variety of unconventional students who come from different
backgrounds, are of different nationalities and age groups. Stanley Hu, by any definition of the term, is unconventional. His path to become a student at UA took him around the world, and his career path after graduation has taken him into a field he never expected. Hu, who now lives and works abroad as the Director of Production and Operations – Putian Office for Brown Shoe Company, spent his youth as a world traveler. Born in China, Hu and his family immigrated to Suriname and subsequently to the United States, settling eventually in Starkville, Mississippi. Following his graduation from high school, Hu once again had the opportunity to see the world when he served as a combat medic for the US Army in Bosnia. After serving for six years as an active duty member and a member of the Army Reserves, Hu enrolled as an undergraduate student at UA in 2002. Having completed courses while serving in the military, Hu graduated with his degree in General Studies one year after enrolling.
“The people in the admissions department at UA were very friendly, and with my unusual circumstances – military obligations caused a few hiccups in my transcripts – the admissions department made my application process go smoothly,” said Hu. Once completing his undergraduate coursework, Hu continued to pursue his education as a student in CHES. The flexibility of the master’s degree in General Studies allowed Hu to enroll in classes each semester and complete his degree in only a year. During his time as a student at UA, Hu worked as a hall director, a position he did not know at the time would lead him into a career he now loves. “When you are at a large university like UA, you never know who you may meet and what great opportunities you may run into,” Hu said.
company famous for their brands that include Naturalizer, Dr. Scholl’s, Vera Wang and many other brands that can be viewed at www. brownshoe.com. Hu’s work experience had little to do with retail or fashion merchandising, but his work ethic, educational background and flexibility have allowed him to be successful in an unfamiliar industry. “I can say, the first thing that came to my mind was Al Bundy from ‘Married with Children’ when I thought about the footwear industry,” said Hu. “But this industry is nothing like the comedy show.” Hu now works in Putian, China, covering Fujian, Zhejiang, and remote provinces for the Brown Shoe overseas office. As part of his job, he oversees development, pre-production, production and administration for his company. Working outside of his expected field, Hu has discovered that he is more adaptable than he knew. “Like many graduates, I thought I would pursue a career more in my field of study, but God had other plans for me, and I am very grateful for the opportunity that I have now,” said Hu. “Never in a million years, would I have expected to work in the footwear industry much less live and work in China, but I’ve accepted the challenges and continue to strive, to learn more and excel further in my career.” Although Hu never thought he would be working abroad, he has learned that adaptability and keeping an open mind have been keys to his success. Over the years, his responsibilities with Brown Shoe have grown and changed, but his resolve and dedication to doing the best job he can have remained unwavering. He has had the occasion to work in an industry and an area of the world that he never expected, and has found that sometimes the unexpected or unconventional can lead to a world of opportunity.
The connections he made while still a student propelled Hu’s career forward and helped him find a job working for Brown Shoe, the www.ches.ua.edu | 17
Author Lysa Parker works with her colleagues at Attachment Parenting International to improve the lives of parents and children and to help inform the public about attachment parenting techniques. Her book, Attached at the Heart: 8 Proven Principles for Raising Connected and Compassionate Children, is a guide for parents interested in practicing the technique.
drive came API, the non-profit organization co-founded by Parker that strives to disseminate information, research and attachment-based childrearing strategies. “We were literally dumbfounded that there were decades of research in attachment and child development that were hidden from the public eye,” said Parker. “With missionary zeal we began researching more about attachment theory and the principles of attachment parenting and became convinced that the information we were finding needed to get into the hands of parents and professionals.” In 2004, Parker received her master’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies from CHES, and continues to use her personal experiences, education and research to work with organizations across the country and around the world in an effort to encourage families to support and engage their children. “We are always looking to collaborate with other organizations whose missions are similar to that of API and our eight principles because it is a win-win for everyone,” said Parker. Over the past sixteen years Parker and API have partnered with organizations like La Leche League International, the Center for Effective Discipline and Lamaze International among others.
ysa Parker is first and foremost a mother – both personally and professionally. She is the mother of two sons, a stepdaughter and a grandmother of twins, but she is a mother in another sense as well. Parker was a mother to many children when she worked as a special education teacher, she has worked in mother-to-mother peer counseling and she is the proud “parent” of the non-profit organization Attachment Parenting International, API, which she co-founded in 1994 and continues to nurture. After receiving her undergraduate degree from UA and working as a special education teacher for a number of years, Parker became concerned with the growing number of students dealing with emotional and learning difficulties. While searching for a reason, Parker discovered attachment parenting – a parenting style that is rooted in attachment theory and focuses on meeting the emotional needs of infants and children by teaching parents how to be effectively nurturing. “Without those early nurturing experiences, children can become aggressive and possibly violent, which is what I was seeing first-hand in the classroom,” said Parker. Working with a fellow teacher, Parker began to research attachment theory and evidenced-based parenting principals, convinced that by motivating parents and professionals to successfully nurture, she could improve family relationships, improve a child’s ability to learn and increase the quality of life for both parents and children. From this
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In addition to her work at API, Parker has been a speaker at numerous conferences, has contributed to journals and magazines on the topic of attachment parenting, has worked with The Mothers’ Council, sat on a committee of The Institute for American Values and The National Children’s Advocacy Center. Most recently, Parker and her colleague at API, Barbara Nicholson, published their book Attached at the Heart: 8 Proven Principles for Raising Connected and Compassionate Children. The book is a guide for parents and grandparents interested in practicing attachment parenting as well for professionals in different fields seeking ways to help the parents they serve in implementing the eight principles of parenting techniques. “For years, people had been telling us to write a book. Parents who practiced attachment parenting said they often felt criticized by wellmeaning family members, friends and even their pediatricians,” Parker said. “They wanted a book that contained research to support their instincts and counter the criticisms. Over the last 15 years, the research has been prolific in many fields of study from child psychology to neuroscience. Different disciplines of academia don’t often ‘crosspollinate’ so we wanted to write a book that compiled research from many disciplines, all demonstrating similar results about attachment and optimal child development.” Parker and her colleagues hope that the book will reach parents and inspire them to be conscious of their interactions with children, to be aware of their own actions and to listen to their natural parenting instincts. Already, the book has earned much praise from parents and practitioners, recently winning the ForeWord magazine Book of the Year gold award. Even with the praise for her work, the success of API and the acclaim that surrounds her book, the true reward for Parker remains in knowing that her work has made a difference in the lives of parents and children.
“It is endlessly fun to ask questions and then design the process to an answer,” Scofield said. “The yield is knowing something that no one has known before.”
Dr. Jason Scofield’s Bama Cognitive Development Lab studies cognitive development, focusing mainly on children’s language development.
r. Jason Scofield understands that cultivating an outstanding graduate student begins during the undergraduate years. Scofield, an Associate Professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, carries a diverse teaching and research load. Scofield teaches courses that include a 100-level introductory course, Introduction to Human Development, and works with both undergraduate students and graduate students in his lab at the Child Development Research Center. Scofield said he enjoys mentoring both undergraduates and graduate students alike. He particularly enjoys seeing the development of the undergraduate student, both in their knowledge base and having their eyes opened to the research arena. “I really enjoy teaching,” he said. “I like to teach the 101 class because it’s where the student knows the very least and has the most distance to go over the course of the semester. It’s a wide-open class with wideopen minds. Plus, you can turn someone on to a discipline they never realized existed.” This course appeals to a broad spectrum of students and allows the application of everyday concepts for everyone, Scofield said. “Every student in the class has been a baby, a child, an adolescent. Everything we talk about in my class is about the person sitting next to them,” he said. Scofield said he enjoys teaching students the fundamentals of his discipline. “The students are ready; they’re thirsty. They want the light bulb to go on in that area.” For the undergraduate student, Scofield said he gives students a taste for how knowledge in their field is acquired. The yield differs for each student, he explained. “Some students just want to work with their own children. Some are trying to build up to the experience. Still others are genuinely curious about how the process of research works.” he said. This foundation for Scofield’s own research agenda was fostered from his undergraduate minor in English, and was furthered by his pursuit of a doctoral degree in experimental psychology. During the early years of his career, Scofield began to question how people learn and use language. That, combined with his interest in how children think about their world, led to his research agenda.
Human y, a major in Research er m o tg n o aduate Jenna M the Undergr cofield with Dr. Jason S and Family Studies at t Developmen spring 20 11. in ce Conferen
“I am openly and endlessly curious about how children think about their world,” he said. “I enjoy using language to study how children learn. Scofield’s lab at the Child Development Center in CHES affords undergraduate students an experience in the research process, working alongside graduate students. At any given time, he mentors 5-10 students in his lab. Scofield’s Bama Cognitive Development Lab studies cognitive development, focusing mainly on children’s language development. The lab’s main line of research examines the conditions in which children learn, or fail to learn, new words. Fostering the next generation of researchers who will ask the questions is critical, and Scofield’s work enables an undergraduate student the first steps down that career path. He said there is no better place than a university campus for cutting-edge research to emerge. That both undergraduate and graduate students alike can be part of that process makes it all the more rewarding for Scofield. “Vast majority of new knowledge happens on college campuses,” he said. “To me, it is profound that a student can be sitting in the middle of a classroom, when right around the corner, researchers are on the cutting edge of discoveries.” www.ches.ua.edu | 19
Ellyn Elson is the founder of Computrition, a company named one of the top 500 woman-owned businesses in the US. The CHES graduate continues to work as an author, an active member of the American Dietetic Association and as part of her newest company, focusGreen.
llyn Elson has been a leader and an innovator for most of her life. As a student at UA, she was the first woman to serve as the President of the Student Union and the first woman to serve as the Director of Elections. During her dietetic internship, she assumed the role of acting Assistant Chief of Dietetics at the Los Angeles Veterans Administration Hospital, and by the age of 23 she owned her own business. “I don’t know what makes me do it,” said Elson. “I see an opportunity, I raise my hand and I just speak up. I know I was amazingly confident when I left UA. Being a student in CHES had been amazing, and the staff was so encouraging. It was great to have a bunch of women who were supportive of me and weren’t trying to make me into something I wasn’t. I think because they allowed me to be me, it gave me the selfconfidence that a lot of people at 18, 19, 20 don’t have. By the time I left the University I thought I could do anything.” Elson’s determination and drive are evident in every part of her life. She is a wife, mother and entrepreneur, an author and the founder of the world’s leading nutrition software company, Computrition. 20 | COLLEGE OF HUMAN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES
The company, which Elson founded in 1980, has grown to one of the largest nutrition software companies in the world, serving hospitals, universities, the military and school foodservice programs. In 2004, Computrition was named one of the top 500 woman-owned businesses in the US and in 2005 Elson was the first woman ever to be honored with the International Food Service Executives Association’s “Industry of Excellence” award for her contributions as an industry leader. “It was difficult when I started,” said Elson, “being in a male dominated field. I really had to let it be known that I was the boss. I think that this is a field where we try to nurture and not to be aggressive. But what do you think successful people are? Aggressive! I had to go out there and work for what I wanted.” Before Computrition, Elson owned two other successful businesses in the dietetics and foodservice industry. The first was her independent consulting business and the second was a company contracted to redesign kitchens in long-term care facilities as well as to handle energy management during the energy crisis of the 1970s. Fighting to be taken seriously as a female employer and business owner aren’t the only times Elson has stood up to make strides forward in her profession. Elson has also been an outspoken advocate for the sharing of information between practitioners in her field. As a young dietitian and a member of the American Dietetic Association, Elson was a charter member of the ADA’s first Dietetic Practice Group. Soon after completing her undergraduate degree and internship, Elson worked as a consultant in long-term care. As she became more involved in her profession, she realized that there were other dietitians working in her field who might have some insight to share with one another about their practice. When she discovered that ADA had no internal organizations where dietitians working in similar areas could communicate information about practice and regulations, Elson decided to act. Seeing a need, she took it upon herself to write each state and collect information about her occupation and the regulations that oversaw dietitians working with older adults. “At that point, the federal regulations for dietitians in long-term care were very new,” added Elson. “As consultants, we just got together and shared a lot of information with one another, and before we knew it ADA called and said they were starting these special interest groups.” Elson went on to serve as both the treasurer and president of her Dietetic Practice Group, and continued to encourage others in her field to share information and resources with one another. Having spent her professional career working to push herself and others forward, Elson has been on the forefront of many new innovations in dietetics, including the innovations made by her own company, Computrition. “Putting together Computrition was amazing,” said Elson. “We saw a need in our field and we had the opportunity to fill that gap. The rest came from a lot of hard work.” In addition to her continuing work with Computrition, Elson has recently founded a new company, focusGreen, and has written her first motivational book, “Live Like You Mean It.”
“I love working with an older adult population, and I always have,” said Lawrence. “And I love that the research I am doing right now can have an immediate impact on people.”
Jeannine Lawrence D
r. Jeannine Lawrence splits her time as Assistant Professor of Human Nutrition between two noticeably different populations. As an educator, Dr. Lawrence teaches classes to both undergraduate and graduate students – and as a researcher, she devotes a substantial portion of her time to finding effective nutrition interventions in various groups of older adults. “I love working with an older adult population, and I always have,” said Lawrence. “And I love that the research I am doing right now can have an immediate impact on people.” The project she is speaking of is a coordinated study with the University of Alabama at Birmingham, aimed at evaluating nutrition intervention techniques in older adults who have recently been discharged from a hospital stay. The study, funded by a substantial grant from the National Institute on Aging, puts dietitians and sociologists face to face with their study population. “We are looking at older adults who are now receiving home health care for a variety of reasons, and those who were under consuming are enrolled in the study,” said Lawrence. “Using motivational interviewing, we work on helping them find ways to improve their intake and to help them heal faster. We have already showed that people receiving nutrition intervention are consuming 190 added calories a day at a sixmonth follow-up period.” With substantial success early in the study, Dr. Lawrence and her associates at UAB hope to see this project executed on a large scale in the near future. “If we can show that it only takes a simple nutritional intervention to get people back where they need to be and where they need to be to heal, we can prove it works and we can have it implemented as part of a normal after-care program,” said Lawrence.
In addition to her research with UAB, Dr. Lawrence is working on another project with funding from the UA Research Grants Committee. This project uses data from the National Health and Nutrition Survey and investigates differences in energy intake, nutrient intake and body composition in different ethnicities with cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease. “I would like to find a diet or lifestyle intervention that can increase survival time and increase quality of life for people with this disease,” Lawrence said. “This isn’t going to be a cure, but if I can increase someone’s quality of life, I call this a win.”
Human Nutrition faculty member Dr. Jeannine Lawrence works hard as both an instructor and a researcher. As part of a grant from the National Institute on Aging, Lawrence and her associates are investigating nutrition intervention techniques in older adults.
Dr. Lawrence is also supervising research projects for two graduate students, as well as working on her own projects at once. Acknowledging that she usually has four or five projects in progress at the same time, Dr. Lawrence knows it is evident that she has – and has always had – a passion for research and its practical applications. After receiving her Ph.D. from UAB, Dr. Lawrence came to Alabama where she immediately tackled new research projects and areas of study. Over the years, she and fellow researchers have worked to investigate differences in weight gain between ethnic populations and genders, the effects of oral estrogen on substrate utilization in postmenopausal women, the validity of widely used formulas in predicting energy needs in various ethnic populations and more. “I love finding the question, designing a study and going out and doing it,” said Lawrence. “One of my favorite things in the world is going into these patients’ homes and doing something that will make a difference.” But research, for Dr. Lawrence, is more than designing studies, writing grants and publishing papers. She believes that the translation of her research is critical to its importance, and she finds that her classroom is one of the best places to test that theory. “The things that I love about research are the same things I love about teaching,” said Lawrence. “I love the interaction, and students keep me on my toes. I can’t be teaching information that is five years old, and because of that I always have to learn new things and find new areas of research. It’s like I am still in school at the same time.” www.ches.ua.edu | 21
Sonya Odell uses her Interior Design degree from CHES to create tranquil spaces in universities and hospitals around the world. Odell focuses on comfort, tranquility and functionality in her work as an associate principal interior designer.
s an undergraduate studying Interior Design at UA, Sonya Odell probably had no idea that one day she would be helping save lives. But that is exactly what she has spent most of her career doing as a healthcare interior designer. Since finishing school, the CHES graduate has primarily worked in healthcare design – completing projects in academic medical centers, public and private hospitals, acute care centers and higher education facilities around the country and internationally. Although she didn’t know it at the time, her work at UA helped steer her career in a direction that would make her one of the most successful healthcare designers in the country, and a leader in her field. “When I was in school, interior design was just being considered a professional field, although most people thought of us more as ‘decorators’ more than designers,” said Odell. “But we took courses in textiles and textile chemistry; the program at UA, even then, was very intensive.” These courses and strong background in fabric use and textiles helped Odell to secure a graduate assistantship as she worked for her master’s degree and helped her find her first job, while still in school. “The group I worked with was building a hospital in Tennessee. They asked for my help while I was still in school,” said Odell. “I was a grad student, I had never done anything that large or worked in healthcare, but at that time I was looking into research and what was available 22 | COLLEGE OF HUMAN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES
about healthcare design. It was really my textiles background from UA that helped me to understand the needs of the healthcare industry. The amazing part is that when got out of graduate school I had a 400 bed hospital on my resume.” Odell’s experience working in healthcare design as a student helped her find her first job as a professional interior designer where, among other accomplishments, Odell helped to establish the first design standards for the Hospital Corporation of America. Having been active in the American Society of Interior Designers all of her career, she and other designers felt that a specialization in healthcare interior design was needed. Odell and others working in the healthcare industry then formed the American Academy of Healthcare Interior Designers. The group serves as a certifying board for designers working in healthcare interior design. The credential allows the public to recognize those qualified when selecting interior designers for their healthcare projects. “Anything healthcare related has specific codes because it has to do with the health, safety and welfare of the people you are serving,” said Odell. “You have to understand the procedures. It is much more complicated than just picking a lovely chair or a pretty fabric.” Knowing the importance of her design choices, Odell likens the philosophy of her practice to that of any other medical professional. She and her colleagues strive to “first do no harm” as well as to incorporate beauty and functionality into their work. The tranquility, comfort and feelings of safety associated with the spaces she designs are of the upmost importance to Odell. She places emphasis on the healing powers of interior design in her work, as a complement to functionality. “You have to make sure people feel safe and comfortable,” said Odell. “In most healthcare settings, you come in and you’re nervous. It is amazing how we can control the body with a calming and soothing environment. That is something we have the power to do with proper interior design.” In addition to her work around the US, Odell recently worked with colleges to help solve some of the design issues in the Hamad Medical Center in Doha, Qatar, a healthcare facility that serves a staggering 1,100 patients a day. She also works as a designer in higher education, helping to design academic buildings and residence halls. “We have taken the same principles that we use in healthcare and applied them in higher education,” said Odell. “The ways people learn and the way you can affect the learning environment is similar to the way you can manipulate the environment to affect healing.” Odell was elected to be on the national board of directors of ASID, American Society of Interior Designers, and she was appointed by the Governor of Texas to a 6 year term as the Interior Design representative on the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners. Odell is currently working as a coach and leader of the Owner Practice to firms in the industry to grow their firms through a different way of business with Wayne O’Neill Associates. One thing Odell has learned from her varied work experiences is that she must stay open to any and all opportunities that come her way. Her personal philosophy that no experience is a bad experience has allowed Odell to build a career that she loves, and allows her to help people learn and heal each day.
Kristin Maki, Clothing, Textile and Interior Design faculty member, focuses her research on “generation Y.” Through her research, Maki has the opportunity to work with CHES students in the CHES Design House as part of a non-traditional learning experience.
have shown Maki that how learning takes place is just as important to students as where learning takes place. Working with students in one of the country’s largest interior design programs, Maki has had the opportunity to work with a variety of exceptional students since joining the faculty at UA in 2006.
s most professors know, not all students are the same. But in CHES, professors assure that all students have the equal opportunity to learn and succeed. Faculty members such as Kristin Maki, an Assistant Professor in Clothing, Textile and Interior Design, work diligently to create opportunities for all types of learning styles. As part of this, the CHES instructor has focused her work and research on the learning stereotypes associated with “generation Y,” more commonly known as the Millennial generation. Inside the CHES Design House, Maki works with students to offer a learning experience that is anything but expected. There, students experience learning in an environment that encourages creativity, hard work and a level of participation in the learning process that is sometimes difficult to find. In addition to using the Design House as a learning tool for her students, Maki has been able to use the innovative learning environment as a research tool. “My research is not about the validity of generational studies, but about how students learn outside of that stereotype,” said Maki. “It investigates in what context learning takes place and how students interpret that learning. Using constructivist learning theory and the design studio model as a framework, my research explores the effect of the design studio environment and students active participation in the creation of knowledge.” As part of her research, Maki looks at the active participation students can take in the education process. The relationships that exist between a student’s learning environment and the quality of that education
“Alabama offers students an exceptionally supportive faculty,” said Maki. “Faculty relationships with students often continue on after graduation. My proudest moment so far was graduation May 2010 as I watched my first students here receive their diplomas. It is such a pleasure to see students grow into young adults over the course of time, and I take great pride in all their accomplishments. I see the future for our graduates in interior design branching into new fields of technology and creating new environments with a stronger sense of humanism.” Maki, who received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Interior Design from the Savannah College of Art and Design has focused much of her research on increasing the understanding of learning in a community setting. As part of her doctoral work, Maki has focused her efforts on exploring the role of women in architecture. In addition to her work at UA in design and education research, Maki currently serves as an archivist in Special Collections at the Virginia Tech Library, working with the International Archive of Women in Architecture. As part of her work in this position, Maki has had the opportunity to meet and work with many prominent female architects. In 2005, she received a grant that allowed her conduct research at the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation of Archives in Phoenix, Arizona. “My research on women in architecture was inspired by these strong women,” said Maki. “They worked hard for a dream and pushed the boundaries of what was once a male dominated profession in a time when women were a minority.” Maki’s variety of research and teaching interests, with focuses in Interior Design, Architecture and Education, has made her an obvious asset to the CHES faculty. “The interior design faculty has different backgrounds so they bring a variety of expertise to the program” said Maki, who continues to contribute to and encourage that diversity. “I think that this diversity lends itself to the strength of our program and I wanted to be a part of that. And of course the students are the best and brightest that I’ve worked with; they have a lot of passion and heart and will be the leaders in the future of the interior design profession.” www.ches.ua.edu | 23
Brad Darden, the inaugural graduate of the Restaurant and Hospitality Management Program in CHES, continues to use his UA education in his work as Regional Sales Director for Intercontinental Hotels Group.
Brad Darden, the first graduate of the Restaurant and Hospitality
Management program at UA, has seen how education and industry can work hand in hand since his graduation in 1988. Darden now serves as a Regional Sales Director for Intercontinental Hotels Group, an internationally renowned company with hotels in over 100 countries, and he can now attribute much of his professional success to his success as a student in what was then the new RHM program in CHES. As an undergraduate at UA, Darden was pursuing his degree in a field outside of CHES when he read an article in the Crimson White. The article spoke about the introduction of an RHM program during Darden’s sophomore year. Interested in learning more about the major and his career options if he completed his degree in CHES, Darden was instantly impressed by the leadership in the department, then headed by the husband and wife team Tom and Donna Malone. “I thought it sounded like such an interesting career,” said Darden. “One of the great things to me about the RHM program was that from the time the Malones were there to when Dr. Roy Maize came in, our professors were always people who had been in the industry. They knew exactly what we were going to get into when we got out into the field.” The RHM program at UA has a long history of adapting the curriculum to real world experience and encouraging students to pursue learning opportunities outside of their traditional educational experiences. Darden took this advice with enthusiasm and spent much of his time as a student working as an intern at the Hotel Capstone on the UA campus. As part of an RHM scholarship he received, Darden was able to work in reservations, the front office, as part of the bell staff, in the restaurant, housekeeping and maintenance. “A huge part of the curriculum when I was in the program was internships,” said Darden. “They had certain internships we could do, but we were also encouraged to go out and find destinations where we could work and get the relevant experience we needed. This was anywhere from a restaurant or hotel in the area to a dining hall in a school. It was that kind of hands on practical experience that I really thought was a good part of the program.” In fact, that hands on experience as a student intern was exactly what Darden needed to make him successful immediately after his graduation. His time as a student working at the Hotel Capstone paved 24 | COLLEGE OF HUMAN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES
the way for him to move into a management level job. Like many RHM students, past and present, Darden found that his familiarity with the field provided by his CHES curriculum has been critical to his success. “I went in to my career initially as an intern,” said Darden. “My scholarship was being sponsored by the management company that was running this particular hotel so it worked hand in hand for me. Having that scholarship opportunity and then being offered a management position even before I graduated was amazing.” Darden also thrived while working in the classroom, thanks in large part to the direction of leaders like the Malones and Dr. Roy Maize, who took over the program in 1987. The practical industry experience of professors and those in departmental leadership roles helped to reinforce what Darden was learning and the understanding he was accumulating while working on his own. Darden has trained and thrived working in many areas of the hotel industry and has seen growth in both the hotel business as well as within the educational infrastructure. Having seen an increase in the use of technology and the growth rate of his business, Darden is assured that the RHM department at UA is growing as well. “Technology has changed this business more than anything,” said Darden. “I know that the RHM department is changing in that same way as well.” RHM is, in fact, utilizing the newest industry technology as teaching tools, and is using technology to help teach students around the world, currently enrolling an ever increasing number of distance students. “It is great to see how much the department has grown since I was a student,” said Darden. “But it is also nice to see that with growth, they haven’t lost the personal touch and hands on emphasis that I think helped to make me successful as a student and successful as a manager.” The RHM program celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2010. The program has experienced numerous changes since its early beginnings in the fall of 1985. Significant highlights include: • A 270% increase in enrollment since fall 2000 (now over 400 students) • Development of the Bachelor of Science Degree in RHM online program • Development of the Executive Restaurant and Hospitality Management (ExRHM) online program • Development of the GOARMY online RHM program
Lee Hallman L
ike many UA graduates, walking past Denny Chimes is powerful for Lee Allen Hallman. It gives him a sense of community; it is a reminder that he is part of the UA family. But Hallman’s history with Denny Chimes goes back further than most. Hallman remembers first walking by Denny Chimes with his mother at the age of three, and asking her about the impressive structure. That was in 1929, the year that the Chimes were completed. “I guess I have always felt like I was part of the UA community,” said Hallman. “My family is from Tuscaloosa County; I have lived here, worked here and gone to school here. It is part of me.” Seventy-nine years after that stroll past Denny Chimes, Hallman would make history when awarded his master’s degree in Consumer Sciences at the age of 82. “It was a wonderful feeling to finish my master’s,” said Hallman, who received his bachelor’s degree from UA as well, in 1979. “I did this because I wanted to learn, that was my main goal.” Before completing his degrees at UA, Hallman had a distinguished 32year career in the military, where he served in World War II, Korea and the Vietnam Conflict. “As soon as I retired, I knew I wanted to go to the University and finish my degree,” Hallman said. “It was a totally new experience. In the military, we saluted a lot with our right hand, so I always carried my books in my left hand. I was fumbling with my hair, wondering where my hat was, but the biggest adjustments were that I couldn’t have my own parking space and that my oldest child was attending the University at the same time.” Hallman completed his first degree as a nontraditional student at UA, and went to work as the Tuscaloosa County License Commissioner, a position where he had the opportunity to continue his career in public service. As the County License Commissioner, Hallman worked with Tuscaloosa City and County systems to make widespread improvements and innovations in his department. He also worked to introduce a student co-op program and found time to volunteer with various civic organizations in the Tuscaloosa area. “I spent many years in public service, with the military and with Tuscaloosa County,” said Hallman. “I think that we all should have a desire to give something back. As individuals, we receive help from different systems every day: from our families, our communities and our schools. It is our responsibility to give back to that community which gives to us.”
Lee Allen Hallman completed his master’s degree in Consumer Sciences in 2008 at the age of 82. The University has a number of opportunities and different activities for seniors. Hallman knew he could take non-credit courses and participate in activities set up through the LifeLong Learning Institute or take different educationally based trips, but he was focused on his work in CHES and overcoming the challenges of being a student again. “The University opens some doors and makes an effort to get nontraditional students involved,” Hallman said. “It was hard sometimes, competing in classes with 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds; your eyesight slows down, your hearing isn’t as good. Sometimes I had to read things two or three times before I understood everything. But I think there is a place for seniors who want to do something of this nature.” After graduating from UA for a second time in 2008, Hallman has decided to remain retired. “When I went back to school this time, I wasn’t doing it to go back into the labor force,” Hallman said. “I wanted a learning project, and that is what I got.”
When Hallman retired for a second time, he decided that he would go back to school again, this time to work toward his master’s in Consumer Sciences with a specialization in conflict resolution.
Although retired, Hallman continues his personal tradition of public service through his involvement in many community organizations. He serves as the Chairman of the Tuscaloosa County Veterans Memorial Park Committee, is active in the American Legion where he was distinguished as Veteran of the Year in Alabama, and remains involved in many activities where he continues to give back to the Tuscaloosa and UA communities to which he feels such a deep connection.
“When I retired again, I made going to school a priority,” said Hallman. “The desire to get a master’s had never left me. The people in the graduate school were really helpful and guided me in the right direction.”
“I still love walking on campus and hearing those chimes ring,” Hallman said. “There is something about it that I can’t explain. It just means a lot.”
College of Human Environmental Sciences The University of Alabama is an equal-opportunity educational institution/employer.