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piecing together the Honors College

Honors College | 2012

Mosaic is a publication produced at The University of Alabama Honors College. The magazine is completely Honors College studentgenerated through the efforts of student writers, photographers and designers. The publication material may not always reflect the views of The University of Alabama. Content is controlled and edited by the staff editors. The purpose is to serve as a publication to inspire, inform and entertain past, present and future students at The University of Alabama. It showcases the spirit of the Honors College through diverse accomplishments of honors students both inside and outside the classroom. The publication is comprised of features and profiles on students and activities within the various programs of the Honors College, including University Honors, International Honors, Computer-Based Honors, and the University Fellows Experience. By covering a broad range of students, professors and alumni, the magazine will fulfill its mission of showing the diversity within the Honors College. Editor in Chief Creative Director Photo Editor Copy Editor Production Manager Student Adviser Editorial Adviser Graphic Design Adviser Faculty/ Photography Adviser Web/Media Manager Writers




Isabela Morales Lauren Aylworth Mitchell Hughes Nathan Proctor Sarah Massey Danielle Drago Chris Bryant Laura Lineberry Chip Cooper Waseem Hussaini Melissa Brown Kristen Campbell Allexandra Ellsworth Brittney Knox Laura Monroe Anna Price Olson Katie Thurber Shamaria Borden Katie Clarke Jane Ellis Amanda Sockwell Carly Hannah Sara Johnson Heather Smith Hannah Grace VanCleave Dr. Shane Sharpe Dr. Jacqueline Morgan

The Univeristy of Alabama Honors College Box 870169 Tuscaloosa, AL 35486-0169

A lot can happen in one year. Honors students sharpened their pencils for the start of a new semester in August (wearing crimson all the while), relived their childhoods playing Quidditch on the Quad in November, sweated over finals in December (to the carillon of carols from Denny Chimes), rang in the New Year with another National Championship win (the second time in four years for lucky seniors like me), filmed zombie musicals for Campus MovieFest in January and shed our coats for unseasonably warm weather in the spring term (not that we’re complaining). But April is back again, and the Tuscaloosa and University of Alabama community finds itself returning to last year, and the knowledge that a lot can happen in one night too. When the April 27, 2011 tornado hit, UA Honors students were among the first to move from the classroom to community service. Panhellenic president Ashley Getwan used social media to organize and deliver thousands of hot meals to affected areas of Tuscaloosa (p. 44). Incoming freshmen cut their summer short to clean up their adopted community’s natural environment through Outdoor Action (p. 38). And the staff of The Crimson White was there all along to report on relief efforts in real time, under the leadership of their editor Victor Luckerson (p. 24). But Honors students’ commitment to building and re-building community both on- and off-campus extended beyond tornado relief. In the Honors College’s “Documenting Justice” class, student filmmakers looked at social justice through the lens of a camcorder (p. 18). Others followed their passions abroad. Aspiring travel writers visited Parliament and native Maori ceremonies alike in New Zealand (p. 54). Pre-med and Spanish majors gained practical experience serving developing communities at a health clinic in Nicaragua (p. 60). And in Cairo, Honors alumna Kristin Trotter-Chick continues to put her life on the line reporting on revolution and social upheaval (p. 58). As a history student, I spend my days in Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library, poring over documents older than this University itself and pondering, best as I can, the changes that happen over long periods of time. But we at Mosaic know also that lot can happen in just one year—and members of the UA Honors community were there to report, rebuild, serve, perform, teach and learn throughout it all.

Isabela Morales

Contents 23 CAMPUS 24 Leadership Takes Luck Campus newspaper editor Victor Luckerson inspires staff in tornado’s chaotic aftermath 26

Not Too Cool for School Mentors share love of reading with middle-schoolers

28 Finishing First in Philanthropy Track and field athlete brings competitive spirit to community service 30 Day in the Life of On-Campus Students A profile of four on-campus students 34 Glowing Edges A photo essay by Heather Smith

37 COMMUNITY Editor’s Letter

38 A Week at the Creek Honors Students clean up Hurricane Creek as part of service-learning program




ACADEMICS 03 Lightbulb Series A photo essay by Sara Johnson


Much Ado About Nothing English professor takes love of literature to Oxford and back


UA’s Political Game Changers Four honors students score internships in D.C.


Funny Guy Groff Psychology professor Stephen Groff talks Broadway stars and the Military


Pets A photo essay by Carly Hannah


Picking Up the Pieces A brief by Danielle Drago




Sharing the Stage Honors Alumna brings dance to the community


Lights, Camera, Social Action! Student documentaries illuminate social justice through film


Artists Xpress Themselves Honors College Assembly leaders promote art appreciation


42 18 Wheels & Counting Teen Nickelodeon Award-winner continues leading relief efforts 44 Will Tweet for Food Panhellenic president explains how social media helped students provide thousands of post-tornado meals 48 Team-Up to Build Up Non-Profit Project Team-Up brings students, Volunteers and Saban out to rebuild city 50 Nature Through My Eyes A photo essay by Hannah Grace VanCleave

53 CULTURE 54 Alabama Down Under Budding travel writers share New Zeland study abroad experiences 58 An American in Egypt Journalist, Honors College alumna puts life and safety on the line 60 The Ciricle of Life Up Close Pre-med, Spanish students volunteer at Nicaraguan health clinic 63 Zenith A photo essay by Mitchell Hughes 66 Staff






LIGHTBULB SERIES SARA JOHNSON Light bulbs are often associated with abstract concepts like innovation and brilliance, representing for me what the Honors College and its students are all about. In my photos, I wanted to portray light and light bulbs in a less conventional way. For this reason, none are lit by electricity, the force that usually gives them the potential to spread their own light. Rather, the bulbs are shown with natural sources of

light, which emphasize their features and demonstrate how they can be lit in alternate ways. This series is meant to represent the power of individual ideas, while also suggesting that they are greater than themselves. The light bulbs always maintain the power to shine on their own, but here they are shown illuminated by something else.





Much Ado About

By Isabela Morales

States to do his dissertation at Vanderbilt and traveled once more across the pond for another year at Oxford. “It came to be a place where I felt quite at home, and it crossed my mind to stay,” he says. “But deep at heart I was a Southerner, and I knew I had to come back to my roots.” This was 1966, and Eddins recalls the academic experimentation of his students. “I’ll give you an example of that. The students formed their own experimental college around 1970, I guess,” he says. “They didn’t get credit for it, but they said they really thought that rigid academia needed to be reformed. So they taught the courses. And one of them was teaching a course called “Do Your Own Thing.” I asked him how it went and he said, ‘It was terrible. We got into class and they all asked me what to do.’” Today’s students may not share the same desire to “turn on, tune in, and drop out,” but through the Honors College they certainly have a unique opportunity in “Nothing.” Scott McWaters, an English instructor who shared teaching duties for the course with Eddins, remembers the origins of the class. Like true academics, they were discussing poetry in their free time. “The idea for a class on Nothing came during happy hour one afternoon with Dr. Eddins, Shrode Hargis [a former instructor], and myself discussing the merits of ‘nothing,’” he admits. “From there, ideas and angles about ‘nothing’ or emptiness or absence in literature and art began to flow freely.” McWaters enjoyed the exchange of ideas among students and professors in the course. “While a class on nothing may sound empty, these writings seemed to reaffirm detachment and that a person should be empty of self and all things. Perhaps ‘nothing’ is our greatest revelation.” Eddins recognizes that students in their late-teens or early 20s may not have experienced the nihilism or falling- away of values that he calls “nothing and its dark companion, nothingness.” But none of us know what the future will bring, and he sees the practical benefit of strengthening oneself even in the study of something incredibly abstract. “I think this is one of the things literature does for you,” he says. “It helps you to gird up your soul or your spirit for dark times. I’ve found it to be so.”

Picture left: Dwight Eddins photographed by Mitchell Hughes. Design by Katie Clarke.


t last, a chance to spend a semester studying ‘nothing.’” Professor Dwight Eddins starts his syllabus playfully, alluding to the common dream of college students suffering from senioritis, procrastination or simple laziness. But of course, there’s a catch. In his innovative Honors College course “Nothing,” Eddins expected thoughtfulness and hard work from his students. Far from spending a semester doing nothing, they engaged such challenging authors as T.S. Eliot, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Nietzsche—just to name a few. “On a humanistic level, I found this work very satisfying,” he says, “and I wanted to share that with students, to show them adventures of the human spirit. I mean, how many people are going to get on a boat and go up the Congo to bring back a sick ivory trader? I’m not going to have that experience. No one is, but you have it when you read Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness.” For Eddins, English is about more than identifying iambic pentameter or parsing poetry for hidden meaning. “It takes you to nooks and crannies of human experience that you would never visit otherwise. That’s true of all literature.” Eddins has been teaching English at the University of Alabama for 45 years, but his enthusiasm for literature has far from flagged. After receiving his undergraduate degree at UA, Eddins was awarded a prestigious Rhodes scholarship to study at Oxford University. “It was a life-changing experience. That phrase is often used, but it’s particularly applicable here,” he says. “It wasn’t so much the classes at Oxford as the British culture. You have to learn to live in a different world, with a different set of manners, attitudes and ideas, and I came to love it. I was very happy there—after a couple months trying to figure out where I was, as if I’d been dropped in by parachute.” Eddins jokes about the four-thirty teas and affectations of British instructors. “One funny thing that happened, I’ll never forget—I referred to Princess So-and-So, Princess Margaret perhaps. And he [the instructor] said: ‘Yes, yes, we have a word something like that but it’s pronounced princess.’” Eddins laughs. “They own the language, and they’ll let you know every once in a while.” Eddins studied for two years in England, returned to the United


English professor takes love of literature to Oxford and back

UA’s Political



By Anna Price Olson

Four honors students score summer internships in D.C.

nside the beltway it’s just a game and everyone has a different part to play in the game that is politics - Will Tucker says of the atmosphere on Capitol Hill.

Photos: (from left to right) Lisa Elizondo, Nicole Bohannon, Mary Sellers Shaw, Will Tucker as photographed by Heather Smith. Design by Jane Ellis.

the beltway court answering phone calls, giving tours, working on projects, and sitting in on briefings and hearings. As an intern for Congressman Spencer Bachus of the Sixth District of Alabama, she was able to open her eyes and see different sides of issues while in the city. Despite the uncertainty of the ongoing political tournament in Washington, Shaw recommends an internship in the nation’s capital to all students no matter their interest in the game. “You get a better idea of what’s going on in our world and in our society,” Shaw says. “I know I heard about issues I never even realized existed and I think as a college student this is the time of our lives to really try different things.”


Elizondo was first introduced to the non-profit organization the summer after her freshman year at UA in her hometown of Dallas, TX. She believes her career goals were first developed as a result of her volunteer work with the non-profit. “The Hispanic College Fund has provided a lot of great things for me—I was able to give back through this internship,” Elizondo says. Nicole Bohannon, also a UA senior, admits her summer internship was not the most glamorous job in the league. As the only education intern for the Senate Committee on Heath, Education, Labor, and Pensions Minority office (HELP), she spent eight hours a day controlling the news in and out of the office, preparing for hearings, and working with Republican Congress members interested in education. Thanks to the fast turnover on the Hill, Bohannon enjoyed the lively atmosphere of the young crowd, but knows she can’t handle the game intensity forever. After a summer of working on federal education policy, she discovered education is more of an argument than a dialogue in Washington. “This gave me the opportunity to see federal policy in a really tangible way and it actually showed me that federal education policy isn’t so much what I’m interested in,” Bohannon says. Since Bohannon hopes to promote more active change in the current education system, she now plans to work on education policy at the state level after law school. Mary Sellers Shaw, a sophomore majoring in communication studies, also spent her summer in the center circle of


Tucker, a University of Alabama junior, witnessed firsthand the backand-forth battle of political offense and defense as a summer intern for the Hearst News and The Houston Chronicle. He now views politics as an exercise in strategy, rivalry and competition. While Tucker compares the competitive atmosphere to a sport encompassing politicians, lobbyists, activists and the media, four UA students managed to mark their place on the court without getting lost in the larger game itself. Tucker didn’t exactly work on the Hill, but entered the arena to cover, blog and tweet directly from the Roger Clemmons trial and other events in the beltway. He covered the fast and furious atmosphere of D.C., writing about anything of interest to the Houston area in the his blog, “On the Potomac.” Tucker claims to have caught “Potomac Fever” while in Washington, and sees himself there in the future. Like Tucker, UA senior Lisa Elizondo discovered a place for herself in D.C. on “L Street.” “My job was off the Hill, completely removed from the political scene, and that was something I enjoyed about my job—that I got a different take on things than my counterparts interning for reps on the Hill,” she says. “I can really see myself there.” As an intern for the Hispanic College Fund (HCF), one of the nation’s top 25 charities, Elizondo spent one month in Washington, D.C. Along with the nonprofit’s mission “to develop the next generation of Hispanic professionals,” she worked to promote education reform and equality laws.

y n n u Guy F Grof f Psychology professor Stephen Groff talks Broadway stars and the military



By Katie Thurber

Picture left: Professor Stephen Groff as photographed by Carly Hannah. Design by Amanda Sockwell


Living in New York City for the majority of the tour, Groff had many experiences with the elite of the entertainment world. The cast of Saturday Night Live at the time threw the cast of ‘Grease’ a party at the famous Studio 54, and even in his downtime, Groff was in famous company. “On Saturday matinees some of us would go to the back of the theatre in the alley and just throw a ball around, just to kill some time,” Groff said. “Well Henry Fonda was doing a show right next door, and one day as we’re throwing that ball, he comes out and brings a fold-out chair and just sits it down. He doesn’t say anything to us, he just is watching as we’re throwing that ball, and we don’t know what to say to Henry Fonda. Finally he says something like, ‘Well, it sounds like you have a nice show going on in there.’ We didn’t know what to say, just ‘Thanks a lot Mr. Fonda!’ We wrapped up the game, and I casually strolled inside, but as soon as I got in the theatre, I sprinted and found the nearest payphone to call my parents and tell them ‘Holy geez, I just met Henry Fonda!’” However, Broadway was not the finale of Groff’s adventures. He went on to get his Ph.D. in psychology from Westchester University, and soon after, entered the Army as an Army psychologist. In 2006 after teaching at the University of Alabama for several years, Groff left the United States for Iraq and was part of the 1st Armored Division. “When you’re there, there’s so much going on,” Groff says, “but you learn to appreciate life, every moment of it.” He returned to UA in 2007 to continue teaching and, most importantly, to be with his family. For his next adventure, Groff plans to continue teaching, writing songs and scripts and playing his favorite role: a dad. “I never wanted to leave my kids again,” Groff said. “I realized that in life your family is what’s important. Nobody says I wish I would’ve spent more time at the office.”




r. Stephen Groff, an Iraq veteran with a strong Pennsylvania accent, does not easily fit the stereotypes of either a psychology professor or a theater performer. As a professor, Groff passes along the wisdom he has gained throughout his experiences, teaching his students much more than just psychology. “To succeed, you have to take risks and believe in yourself,” he says. “Take risks to pursue your dreams … no matter what happens, the memories are always there.” Groff, an honors psychology professor at the University of Alabama, has been teaching for close to 10 years, but there’s something that most people might not know about him: Groff was a professional actor on Broadway. “It was the thrill of a lifetime,” Groff says of his experience. Groff has always enjoyed the performing arts, and participated in talent shows growing up. He furthered his experience in the limelight when he auditioned for the Downing Dinner Theatre, owned by actor Mickey Rooney, and got cast in ‘Funny Girl.’ Then, when he was teaching high school in the Philadelphia area, on a whim he decided to audition for the Broadway production of ‘Grease’ in New York City. “I had no idea there were over 2,000 people auditioning across the country for only 20 parts,” Groff said. “I just kept going on to the next round and thought ‘Hey, how bout that!’” He eventually made it through all the audition rounds and ended up a part of the star-studded cast for a three-year tour of one of Broadway’s most popular shows. During the tour, Groff worked with some now famous actors who were then just starting out, such as Patrick Swayze, Danny Jacobson, Meghan Duffy and David Gallagher. “Oh, Gallagher was a hoot!” Groff recalls. “We were always joking around. He was usually the one to crack onstage.”



PETS CARLY HANNAH Animals are indeed such agreeable friends, especially my own pets. I’ve always owned pets, ranging from dogs, cats, birds, hamsters and fish. Pets show you love without words. Just a simple nudge, a wet lick, a soft purr and a greeting at the door when you get home can easily warm your heart. As a photographer, I’ve mostly photographed humans and still life objects. For this photo essay, I decided I would try to capture the personality of my pets, because they are such an important part of my life. Throughout the years, I’ve grown very close

to my pets, and they take up a huge chunk of the love in my heart. They’ve always been there for me, even though they cannot speak. Sophie is a Shorkie-Tzu, a mixture between a Yorkie and a Shih Tzu. She is just like a baby and will cuddle with you for hours. She’s a very gentle and loving dog, and is like a mother to the other dogs. Sophie’s favorite thing is to receive a long, caring belly rub. Chloe is a Chihuahua. She’s extremely hyper and likes to get on your shoulders or sneeze in your face. She also likes to get on everyone’s nerves, but we all love her to

pieces anyway. She has an adorable habit of rubbing her paws on her face, and looks as if she’s smiling. Brody is also a Chihuahua. He’s incredibly shy, but when he decides to be social, he absolutely loves to give kisses. He also likes to eat a little too much, and it shows when he tries to jump on the couch. Martin is our very lazy, fat cat. He’s the sweetest, most laid back animal we have. His favorite activities are lounging amidst the Christmas tree box and eating. He’s always ready to greet you with a “meow” and rub against your legs.



Picking Up the

Pieces By Danielle Drago




mid the brush and the rubble, a glint of silver caught the volunteers’ eyes. Lee Drago and Brent LaForte, both Honors College sophomores, were with a group cleaning up the wreckage of the Forest Lake area following the April 2011 tornado when they spotted a silver twisted sculpture in a tree. After being told that they would have to wait until the initial cleanup was done, the boys took matters into their own hands. “We took to the side streets and found houses that weren’t getting that much attention. It was mostly roof work, until we came across the house with the sculpture in the front yard. The sculpture was twisted and entangled in downed trees, so much so that we had to chainsaw it free,” LaForte says. The group thought that the sculpture had originated in Woods Quad, where other similar sculptures are displayed. They loaded the sculpture into a truck and brought it to Woods Quad, where they wrote a note and taped it to the sculpture. “It said to keep the sculpture there to remind us all of the tornado’s impact on the community,” Drago says. When they returned to school, however, the sculpture was nowhere to be found. In fact, LaForte hadn’t thought about the sculpture until he picked up Crimson magazine nearly six months later—and saw the sculpture emblazoned on the pages. The story that accompanied the picture was of Craig Wedderspoon, a professor of art at UA who thought he had lost the sculpture for good after the tornado. That is, until someone called him to say it was on Woods Quad. LaForte and Drago quickly sent Wedderspoon pictures of his sculpture in the tree and truck, much to his enjoyment. Today, ‘Fast’ resides in Wedderspoon’s art studio, but Drago, LaForte and their friends still have a piece of ‘Fast’ to remember the tornado by.






I’ve always loved to make an audience feel something or understand something new through performance.





Picture left: Shannon Lindamood as photographed by Crosby Thornley

Dr. Jacqueline Morgan supported her throughout her many performances at the University and inspired her to be that support for other people. During the Fellow’s Black Belt Experience in Marion, Ala., Lindamood created a project that shared her love of dance with girls who had no opportunities to explore the arts. She not only taught them how the arts could benefit them, but also learned how much she enjoyed sharing her gifts with others. “I’ve always loved to make an audience feel something or understand something new through performance, but sharing the art with these girls and making a longer lasting impression, possibly, felt more valuable,” she says. Lindamood continues to inspire others to appreciate the arts both on and offstage. She currently teaches in private studios and hopes to one-day help performing arts studios reach out to children without access to arts education. She feels that the Fellows Program gave her a passion to help others with the gifts she was given. “My first passion in life has been dance,” she says. “Fellows led me to my second passion and, I’m confident, has given me the tools to make a difference.”


eaping on a stage with thousands watching may only be the stuff of dreams for some people, but for Shannon Lindamood, it’s just daily life. As a member of the Houston Metropolitan Dance Company, Lindamood gets to live out her passion for dancing, something she says the Honors College encouraged her to do. “Dancing professionally has been an aspiration of mine and something I worked towards all my life, but I would not have it without the opportunities Alabama’s dance program and Honors College gave me,” Lindamood says. Lindamood graduated summa cum laude in May of 2011, and during her four years at the University, she was involved in a wide variety of student organizations and honorary societies. However, one organization in particular shaped her college experience and her future. “I was a member of the inaugural class of the Fellows Program and met my closest friends and some of my peers I admire most,” she said. “The camaraderie in Fellows created an environment which bid you to think bigger and take action—all with the help of your friends.” Lindamood says that faculty like Dr. Judith Halli and

By Katie Thurber



Honors alumna brings dance to the community

, S T , H A G ER I L M L CA CIA N!


Student documentaries illuminate social justice through film



S ant to w u o “If y unicate comm g to the hin somet al mass, gener rite a w don’t is m l i F . , book ngest o r t s the rful e w o p most timulate s way to nds.” mi

By Brittney Knox

ome think a picture is worth a thousand words, but the students in Andrew Grace’s Honors documentary film class think a film is worth much more. To them, the world looks different through a camera’s lens. Inspired by the University of Alabama-Birmingham’s ethnographic filmmaking course, Grace and Stephen Black— director of UA’s Center for Ethics and Social Responsibility— worked to develop a similar program at UA. “Documenting Justice,” now in its sixth year, is a course at the University that allows students with little to no filmmaking experience to look at the world through the camera’s lens. The objective is to create a film about a social issue in Alabama. During the first semester, Grace teaches documentary film history, theory and criticism, as well as engaging the ethics of non-fiction storytelling—along with the more practical matters of shooting and production techniques. In the second semester, the students solidify their topics and begin shooting. A group in the 2007 class chose to interview residents of Collegeville, a small, lower income African American community in Birmingham whose residents sometimes found themselves “Trained In.” “They have really severe access issues because the trains would stop on the tracks and people couldn’t get in and out,” Grace explains. “Many had been injured and some killed while trying to cross over a track with a stalled train that would suddenly start to move.” “We want students to understand the full impact of visual medium,” he adds. “We try to get them to think about documentary as a visual medium. You really want to use the medium for all of its potential.”

In addition to the Alabama Documenting Justice course, there is International Documenting Justice, which requires a student to study with the regular course in the fall and then work on their film abroad in the spring or summer semester. “Although the films are good, it’s not a guarantee that it will work every time,” Grace says. “This year there are only two films. I think they will be good despite some difficult challenges. It can be hard to be first time filmmakers going to a foreign country, not necessarily speaking the language -- with the overall goal of telling a story.” But despite the challenges, Burgin feels that the visual medium is to what people pay the most attention. “If you want to communicate something to the general mass, don’t write a book,” he says. “Film is the strongest, most powerful way to stimulate minds.”


One of Grace’s students, Xavier Burgin, took that advice to heart, finding his passion in documentary filmmaking. “The skills I am learning from Andy are all of part of what I want to do,” Burgin says. “The things he is teaching us can be applied to short films, documentaries or features. I just want to be as good as I can in anything and everything.” Burgin put those skills to use when shooting “Portrait of a Storm,” his documentary about the April 27 tornado that led him to win Best 3D Film at the Campus MovieFest competition in Hollywood. “A few days after the tornado I went and photographed everything, and, from there, I started shooting,” Burgin says. “It was an active choice to showcase the destruction only and not to show the faces of the survivors talking. I think seeing that type of destruction is more heart-wrenching for the film.” Honors student Fifi Wang came into the course expecting to learn a lot and be challenged. “I first heard about Documenting Justice through friends who were in the course last year,” she says. “They said that it was both the best and hardest class at Alabama. I knew that being in Documenting Justice would really challenge me as a student and as a person.” “We’ve all heard the “picture is worth a thousand words” saying,” Wang adds. “Film can go even beyond still photography, which only portrays a single snapshot of time. Through films, we can physically see a story unfolding through the words and actions of the characters involved. This can be more memorable than just reading words on a page.”

Fifi Wang (a bove) ut Photography ilizes one of the course ’s many cam by Sara Jo eras. hnson, desi gn by Katie Clarke.


st his late orks on as w ts e o h h s ies of s ssion a in a ser s his pa d w e r o ll tu fo p e) is ca (above) site pag ourse. Burgin e (oppo Xavier c ec a c r ti G s u drew ng J film. An his Documenti s e he teach



Themselves Honors College Assembly leaders promote art appreciation By Kristen Campbell




press Night at the Ferguson Center’s Starbucks is far from your typical open mic night. On couches, tables and chairs, University of Alabama students form a circle, intently appreciating the talent streaming from the microphone. One student sips her caramel macchiato, tapping her foot to the rhythm of the song. Another wraps his arm around his smiling girlfriend, remembering their first date at an Xpress Night last year. A guy in a penguin suit announces that a charity event is taking place nearby and encourages the audience to take part. Colby Leopard pleasantly observes the event, at home in this environment. When Leopard was named chairman of Xpress Night, an event sponsored by the Honors College Assembly Arts Awareness branch, he wanted Honors College students to find the event as a time to relax, hang out with other students, and artistically express themselves. Photo: Juliano Godorecci playing guitar; (far left) Colby Leopard. Photography by Sara Johnson. Design by Amanda Sockwell.

The HCA Arts Awareness initiatives help me, maybe more than they help the other students ... It helps me maintain my sanity.

Photos: (top to bottom) (L) Michael Bolus; (M) Lee Mallette; (R) Nicky Bolus; Duet: Austen Parish (Left); Will Gillett (Right); (juggling) Will Gillett; (at mic): Michael Luwoye


Leopard, who is now the director of HCA’s Arts Awareness, would unknowingly find an atmosphere of calm and certainty, a place where he not only reached out to Honors College students to indulge in their creative interests, but where he too could be comfortable. “The HCA Arts Awareness initiatives help me, maybe more than they help the other students,” admits Leopard. “It helps me maintain my sanity.” Leopard became involved with HCA Arts when he received an email from last year’s director, Ryan Davis. “Ryan really showed me how to appreciate art,” Leopard says. For Davis, the experience meant just as much. “Leading and participating in the HCA Arts Awareness events showed me the value of doing something that matters,” Davis says. Leopard, a junior from Winston-Salem, N.C., is excited about the future of HCA Arts Awareness. “This branch of HCA provides Honors College students with opportunities they may not have had otherwise,” says Leopard. “The events, like Xpress Night, embrace Honors College students to express themselves.” Chris Lasecki, an Honors College sophomore, considers Xpress Night his favorite part of HCA Arts Awareness. “I have watched it grow so much in the past year and a half,” says Lasecki. “It really helps honors students get together and meet one another.”


- Colby Leopard

22 MOSAIC 2012

Leading and participating in the HCA Arts Awareness events showed me the value of doing something that matters - Ryan Davis

According to Leopard, Xpress Night has grown tremendously since its initial event last year. With almost 150 people attending the bi-monthly event at the Ferguson Center’s Starbucks, HCA has scheduled six nights this semester, four more than last year. Lasecki, who frequently performs at Xpress Night, considers the HCA Arts Awareness branch a key role in his involvement during his freshman year at the Capstone. “I was interested in playing music and meeting like-minded students,” Lasecki says. “It is always special for me to see and meet all of the great musicians on this campus.” The HCA Arts Awareness functions immediately attracted Lasecki during a time when he was trying to find his place among thousands of other UA students. “I think the arts functions are really refreshing,” he says. “When people usually get together, it’s to party, but Xpress Night is a way to get away from all of that and still have a great time.” Lasecki is looking forward to what the future holds for HCA Arts Awareness. “HCA Arts has come a long way, but with new creativity and involvement, it could go even further,” he says. “There’s a world of potential that students should start tapping into.” Olivia West, a junior from Madison, agrees. “The Arts in HCA are just brimming with creativity, energy and untold potential,” West says. “I’m so excited to be a part of it and see where it goes next.” West, an art major, was one of three students showcased in the HCA’s Art Speaks exhibit, another outreach program of the Arts Awareness branch. Art Speaks is an event that provides student artists with a place to display their paintings, photographs, sculptures and other artistic pieces in a relaxed environment that includes live music and refreshments. “A lot of work went into making the first art show happen,” West says. “I was able to see it through conception to fruition, and that was extremely gratifying.” More than pleased at the huge turnout for the initial Art Speaks exhibition, West is understandably proud of what the Art Speaks team has accomplished. Since being featured in the Art Speaks gallery at Nott Hall, West has continued to contribute to the program by helping Leopard perpetuate Art Speaks and planning future events. The Honors College is home to many of the Capstone’s unique students. Through the Arts Awareness branch of the HCA, these students have a place to artistically express themselves. Whether it’s through music at Xpress Night or paintings at Art Speaks, there’s a home for every artistic Honors College student. Photos: (top to bottom): Caitlin Reilly; Max Dolensky; Adam Greene; HCA singer. Photograhy by Sara Johnson. Design by Amanda Sockwell.




Leadership Campus newspaper editor Victor Luckerson inspires staff in tornado’s chaotic aftermath



By Anna Price Olson TUSCALOOSA, Ala.--Three chairs surround Victor Luckerson’s wooden desk. Instead of a suit jacket, a heavy crimson fleece hangs open over the first chair. Instead of a briefcase, an unzipped black backpack is tossed in the chair adjacent. And the third chair askew in the corner makes it hard to maneuver around the pale yellow workspace. As editor of The Crimson White, Luckerson has a private office overlooking University Boulevard on the University of Alabama campus. However, posters scattered over the walls hint that the space doesn’t exactly belong to an older career professional. From the Alabama Crimson Tide posters to a marked-up dry erase board expanding across the entirety of a wall, Luckerson’s office and his life are caught in balance between the workload of a newspaper editor and life as a college student.

In his first year as CW editor, an EF-4 tornado devastated Tuscaloosa on April 27 and forced Luckerson to face challenges that come with covering disaster on a scale few other college journalists have seen. He emerged from a basement into a far-from-ordinary news environment, yet was immediately at work. “We had Thursday’s paper to print,” Luckerson says. However, Luckerson soon realized that this was more than a print newspaper story. In the days following the tornado, he turned to online print and social media to lead the CW team in producing more than 100 articles and 30 multimedia features; three stories were up that Wednesday night. With logistical issues, gas shortages, no office space due to the loss of power, and about half a million hits on the newspaper website in the week after the storm (20,000 a week was normal), Luckerson and the CW team were forced into a difficult test. “In general, the tornado benefited our staff because we all just kind of realized how capable we were,” Luckerson says. Mark Mayfield, staff adviser to the CW, agrees that Luckerson and the CW staff benefited in a positive way. He also believes that while Luckerson has always been a good

With such an abrupt change in the paper power structure, only a respected leader could manage a team of 30 students in a time of such crisis. As a junior in charge of a staff of all grade levels, Luckerson didn’t struggle in holding the respect of his entire staff (even the seniors). “He inspires them. He’s quiet, not a screamer,” Mayfield says. “You listen closely to hear what he is saying.” Reed agrees that there is something about Luckerson that makes you enthralled as to what soft words are coming out of his mouth; you know you want to be behind him in whatever he is saying. “He is great at coming up with big ideas and getting other people to work towards those ideas,” Reed says. “His strength is that he can take one idea and get it done.” Additionally, Luckerson believes that the tornado taught him lessons that will be useful in the journalism world. His one-month dedication to the tornado coverage forced him to become a better decision maker and put trust in his staff; he also realized the importance of having a plan. “The tornado taught me the importance of being prepared for such a crazy situation, anything can happen at any moment,” Luckerson says.

“ He has great news judgment and not all editors do. he sees ’’ what’s important and gives it what he has got

As a senior journalism major, Luckerson plans to take his lessons learned and leave the student newspaper behind in favor of a job in magazines after graduation. With two years as editor of the CW, an internship at Sports Illustrated this past summer, and the tornado coverage under his belt, Luckerson will enter NYC with experience he could not have planned for. “He has great news judgment and not all editors do. He sees what’s important and gives it what he has got,” Mayfield says.


journalist, the tornado really allowed his talents to shine. “Very few college newspaper staffs could have done that, in part due to Victor,” Mayfield says. “This is one of the biggest stories he will ever cover, and he is a student, and he realized that.” Jonathan Reed, managing editor of the CW, stayed in Tuscaloosa alongside Luckerson in the days following the tornado and witnessed his leadership in action. “There was a hierarchy here before the tornado,” Reed says. “Victor took over afterwards, and the rest of us were just his reporters.”


- Mark mayfield of Victor luckerson

Photo left: Victor Luckerson as photographed by Mitchell Hughes. Design by Lauren Aylworth.

By Melissa Brown




Mentors share love of reading with Tuscaloosa middle-schoolers

he clock strikes four on a Thursday afternoon at Davis-Emerson Middle School. Fifteen students spill into the school’s library, laughing and chattering away as they begin to mingle with the READ Alabama mentors awaiting them. “Hey, Happy,” says an eighth grader, grinning and playfully punching University of Alabama junior Austin Lafferty in the arm before heading into the stacks with her mentor to find a book. “She calls me Happy every day because she says I never stop smiling,” says Lafferty, READ executive director for external relations, laughing and shaking his head. “The kids are by far my favorite part of the program.” READ (Readiness in Education and Development) Alabama, founded by University of Alabama junior and University Fellow Colby Leopard in the fall of 2010, is an initiative designed to improve reading and comprehension skills in elementary and middle school students. The entirely student-led program has rapidly expanded and achieved success in its short time with the Honors College. But the UA students involved with READ find that the accolades and recognition aren’t what bring them back week after week. In giving their time, mentors connect personally with the students: discussing weekend plans, finding the perfect book, struggling to spell out a new word or triumphing over a personal goal. In short, it’s all about the relationship between mentor and student. “My favorite part of the program is definitely the bonds that are made,” says Katherine Owen, executive director of recruitment and Honors College sophomore, “which sounds immensely cheesy and predictable, but it’s true. When the student who initially hated reading lights up a few weeks in because of reading success or is actually happy to see you, you’ll get just as excited as they do if not more.” “The relationships are so meaningful,” Leopard says. “It’s a humbling experience to see how people look up to you and how you can change someone’s life.” Leopard began developing the program after a local Tuscaloosa librarian asked if he could help with students performing under reading level. The program started quickly, and hasn’t slowed down since. “There was no shape or structure at all. It didn’t exist, and then suddenly it did,” Leopard says. “Each step of the way, I didn’t know where it was going next. It’s been an insightful and gratifying experience.” At the beginning of the fall 2011 semester, the program placed over 100 volunteers at Cottondale Elementary School, Davis-Emerson Middle School and Holt Elementary School. READ also implemented a board of directors, made up of 12 Honors College students who oversee various areas of the program from transportation to creative expansion. Photography by Heather Smith. Design by Lauren Aylworth.

In October 2011, the program received the go-ahead to expand to Echols Elementary School, adding over 30 additional mentoring sessions. Mentors do not follow a set curriculum or teaching method. Students are urged to pick out books that interest them most. Both sides are encouraged to get to know the other. Reading doesn not even happen the first day in a school - mentors are too busy asking about the student’s favorite books, names of pets and lifelong goals. “READ is unique because it focuses on the relationship between a university student and a reader and uses the power of that relationship as a vehicle to improve the reader’s skills,” says Lena Oshinskie, executive director of internal relations. “There is nothing else, no ulterior motive, just a simple formula that gives these students the individualized attention to their skills that they need.” Working with the kids is not always happy-go-lucky, however, and mentors often encounter problems with unfriendly or unenthusiastic students. Owen encourages mentors to work hard to gain access and engage with their student. “Those first few weeks can be awkward with

your reading buddy, trying to break through and have them actually talk to you and engage in the reading activities,” says Owen. “Be enthusiastic to the point of ridiculousness. If you don’t love reading, they won’t. They may think they’re too cool for school, but it means a lot to them to see that you want to be there.” As they continue to expand the program and students’ minds, READ plans to maintain that enthusiasm in the future. “At the rate we’re growing, it’s almost intimidating to imagine where we could be in five years,” Owen says. “I see READ being in schools all around Tuscaloosa and all over Alabama. Nothing would make me happier than to see READ in schools all over the state, with satellite programs in schools and other universities in the Southeast.” In the meantime, mentors and students will continue meeting and reading, discussing books and building relationships. “They are so much fun to talk to. They’re all just so different. It’s interesting to see them interact with each other and their mentors whether they’re reading and talking about the book, or goofing off before or after the session,” Lafferty says. “It’s a really rewarding experience.”



READ is unique because it focuses on the relationship between a university student and a reader and uses the power of that relationship as a vehicle to improve the reader’s skills

Finishing First in Philanthropy Track and field athlete brings competitive spirit to community service By Alexandra Ellsworth



“My parents would say it was two weeks after I started walking that I was running,” Nathan Corder says with a laugh as he thinks back to his childhood. “In our house, a lot of the discipline was going for a run around the block. By the time I hit junior high, it was in miles more than just around the block. You can say me [being] a competitive distance runner now is either genetics or a testament to my will power, and we don’t have any other distance runners in my family tree besides my brothers,” he says.

A native of Pickerington, Ohio, and a senior at the University of Alabama, Corder is finishing up what may be his last running season at UA on the track and field teams. He says, however, that he did not come to college simply to run competitively. “What I wanted to do was go to the best college I could for me, and if I had to run, I would, looking at that as paying for a scholarship” he says. But here through the Presidential Scholarship and National Merit, I actually walked onto the team,” he says.

Corder is the consummate scholarathlete. His achievements as a member of the UA Computer-Based Honors Program, mathematics major and vice president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee led him to be named a Rhodes Scholar finalist for 2011. Corder credits his success in college to the determination he learned growing up. But pursuing excellence in athletics and academics is not the only thing he learned from home. Corder’s interest in not-for-profit fundraising was prompted by his home life as well.

Photography: (above and right) Nathan Corder as photographed by Mitchell Hughes. Design by Lauren Aylworth.

“I grew up in the business,” he says. “My dad helped run a $50 million notfor-profit. Long term, I want to go into not-for-profit fundraising. It’s something I’m passionate about and something I’m gifted at.” “As a student, he works extremely hard and is very intelligent,” says Dr. Sharpe. “[Corder] has moved into an area that is relatively new, referred to as data mining.” Corder plans to go to graduate school to study data mining and use those techniques to help facilitate potential donors to get involved in giving to nonprofit organizations.

Corder’s philanthropic work became especially needed after the April 27 tornado devastated Tuscaloosa. Corder knew he needed to do something to help his community. Corder was able to partner with Convoy of Hope and work hand-in-hand to help coordinate the delivery of and distribution of 500,000 pounds of aid into the city of Tuscaloosa. “Because it was something I was capable of doing, to not help would have been selfish,” he says. “In that experience I found that yes, I knew this was my passion. That’s something I want to continue with my graduate plans, hunger being the particular area of non-profit

work that I want to pursue.” “To me, the single best quality of Nathan is that everything he does is philanthropic. His considerable intelligence, leadership and fortitude are all focused on helping people live better lives,” says Brad Tuggle, University Honors professor and former Rhodes Scholar. But as Corder says, “With the support you get here at Alabama, you have to work very hard to fail.”



“With the support you get here at Alabama, you have to work very hard to fail.”

a day in the life OF ama b a l A f o y t si The Univer


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reshman Madison Rose spends Saturdays in the fall the same as most everyone else in Tuscaloosa: watching football and shouting “Roll Tide!” “Tuscaloosa is a really great town to live in as a college student,” she says. “It is almost impossible to be a student at the Univesrity of Alabama and not be a football fan. Watching these games is definitely one of my favorite things to do.” Rose’s weekdays, however, are occupied with other activities: chemical engineering classes and meetings of the SGA First-Year Council, the Society for Engineers in Medicine and the Alpha Epsilon Delta Pre-Med Society. In addition to these, Rose is also a member of the Honors College. “Being a member of the Honors College is the greatest benefit that I could have as a freshman,” she says. “The faculty and students are always ready and willing to assist me with anything I need, whether it is advice on classes or just how to deal with situations that arise as a new student … The Honors College provides so many


By Laura M

opportunities for us to feel welcome and get involved on campus.” For Rose, those opportunities are academic, extracurricular and also residential. “I do live in the Honors dorms, and I am very glad that I chose to do so,” she says. “Living in the Honors dorms has introduced me to so many different people that I would not have met otherwise, and it has really helped me smoothly transition into college.”

“Being a member of the Honors College is the greatest benefit that I could have as a freshman.”


rsity of A



By Brittne

y Knox

Bryant dining hall every once in a while.” Each morning, Alvarez makes sure to be up just in time for classes, Mallet and Residence Hall Association meetings and his participation in the Freshman Learning Community for Evolutionary Attitudes. Although, he admits, he’s no stranger to hitting the snooze button.

“I knew I was the type of person that needed to be with people, and now I live with all of my friends. I honestly could tell you something about pretty much everyone in Mallet.”



ophomore anthropology major and honors student Evan Alvarez lives on campus in Palmer Hall—the brick building on McCorvey Drive, with the big blue sign bearing the words “Mallet Assembly.” “Mallet is a self-governing honors assembly that students apply to be a part of on campus,” explains Alvarez, who was elected Mallet’s vice president this year. “The application requires a look at your college GPA or your high school ACT/SAT test scores for incoming freshmen. I have really enjoyed living in Mallet and embracing how it really creates community among the residents.” To Alvarez, Mallet represents exactly what dorm life on campus should be. “I knew I was the type of person that needed to be with people, and now I live with all of my friends,” he says. “I honestly could tell you something about pretty much everyone in Mallet. I also enjoyed the dining halls. My friends and I typically eat at Lakeside and sometimes decide to change things up and make a pilgrimage to



Evan Alva


ama b a l A f o y t si The Univer


y e l l a r B Brass




rass Bralley wakes up at 10 a.m. each day to get ready for her mid-morning classes, grabbing a quick breakfast and packing lunch for later. As a junior, Bralley no longer buys a meal plan to eat at on-campus dining halls, but, unlike many other juniors and seniors, she still lives in a dorm. “I chose to remain in the dorm junior year because my scholarship pays for on-campus housing for all four years,” she explains. “I’ll more likely than not be staying on campus again for my senior year.” “I’ve also loved having a consistent place to call home for the past two and a half years,” she adds. When not at the dorm or in class, Bralley works as a math and Spanish tutor at the Center for Academic Success. “I often can study at work, but for the most part I come home at night to study, eat dinner, shower, hang out with my friends and roommates and then go to bed,” she says of her daily schedule. “I usually hang out with my friends more on the weekends

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than during the week.” Bralley notes that she met many of those friends through the Honors College Alabama Action program when she was a freshman. “Two and a half years ago, crazy!” she says, “Roll Tide to that.”

“I’ve also loved having a consistent place to call home for the past two and a half years.”

The Unive

rsity of A




C Rogers ard By Katie T


Photography by Hannah VanCleave. Design by Katie Clarke.

“Blount definitely has more of a community aspect. It’s smaller and you’re actually sharing a room with someone with a hall bathroom, so you get to know people pretty well.”


dorms positively. She enjoys knowing that she does not have to worry about “utilities and other apartment stuff” that can cause stress for students moving away from home. “Besides,” she adds, “It’s so convenient living here, especially for game days.”



fter living on-campus for the duration of her college career, Elizabeth Rogers knows something about dorms. The senior English and classics major opens up about what campus life is really like for the long-term on-campus student. Rogers has lived in Ridgecrest West since she was a junior, but she spent her first two years in the Blount Undergraduate Initiative dorms just across the street. “Blount definitely has more of a community aspect,” she says. “It’s smaller and you’re actually sharing a room with someone with a hall bathroom, so you get to know people pretty well.” Rogers admits that being an upperclassman on campus can feel “strange” at times. “It seems like the maturity level of students living in the dorms has gone down,” she comments, “but maybe that’s just because I’ve gotten older and I notice the jokes and antics more.” Still, Rogers looks back on her residential life in the honors



GLOWING EDGES HEATHER SMITH I backpacked through seven countries in Europe this summer with three close friends. From Dublin and London to Rome and Berlin, we saw the beauty of ancient columns and palaces, even as they had decayed compared to modern architecture.

These pictures are my attempt to bring light and color back into the rough and weatherdamaged cathedrals and city streets. I graphically added vibrant, glowing edges to represent the history, life and culture celebrated throughout Europe.








Not only do we get to do something beneficial for our community ‌ But we get to have an awesome time together outdoors, too.



- John Lukasik

Honors freshmen clean up Hurricane Creek as part of service–learning program


ach year before fall classes commence, a group of students arrives early to campus to participate in a project that has influenced Tuscaloosa and surrounding areas since 2005. Emily Strong, a junior from Philadelphia, is one of these students. Strong, a marketing and pre-dental major, joined Outdoor Action to meet people before her freshman year at the University of Alabama. “I really enjoyed the entire week of the program,” she says. Strong enjoyed the program so much that she decided to return the following two years to volunteer as a student leader. “I wanted to provide other students with a sense of belonging and accomplishment at college,” Strong says. “I feel that through Outdoor Action I have been able to do this.” Outdoor Action is a weeklong service learning course for incoming Honors freshmen. Forty freshmen and eight upperclassmen participate in outdoor activities from canoeing to river seining, and then work together on a day-and-a-half service project. Outdoor Action concentrates on environmental issues and allows students to contribute through an environmental service project. John Lukasik, a junior accounting major, says that the students who participate in the program usually have a memorable time together while also understanding the serious commitment they are making to the community.


By Kristen Campbell

In particular, the group could not believe the amount of debris that had ended up at Hurricane Creek. According to the students, the main obstacle was fallen trees that had ended up in the creek. Other debris included miscellaneous papers, plastic bottles, tin signs, pieces of furniture and clothing items. “The students were shocked and felt a need to do something to help clean up the mess,” Mecredy explained. The students, according to Mecredy, accomplished more work in that short time period than any group before them. “I made a comment to one student that he worked harder that day than he had all week,” Mecredy says. “The student replied back to me that ‘this project is worth it.’” For Mecredy, the group’s tornado relief efforts were a touch more personal than he would have liked. “I lost my house, most of my personal belongings and about 5 acres of trees during the April 27th tornado,” he says. Mecredy says the generosity he received from friends, family and total strangers was something he deeply appreciated and wanted to return that generosity to another tornado-ravaged area.



“Not only do we get to do something beneficial for our community,” Lukasik says, “but we get to have an awesome time together outdoors, too.” The Sylacauga native says his favorite part was simply learning about the area’s natural habitat and history. “Even though I’m now a student leader for the group, it’s still a beneficial learning experience every summer,” he says. Randy Mecredy, the 2011 Outdoor Action instructor, says that he was thoroughly impressed with what the students were able to accomplish this year, a year that went a little differently than those before it. “The student leaders decided that they wanted to continue their service learning projects at Perry Lakes as in years past,” Mecredy says. “But, they also felt called to do a service project to help clean up from the April 27 tornado.” Mecredy, director of the Alabama Museum of Natural History, says the students decide to focus on the hard-hit area of Hurricane Creek. “Outdoor Action students worked to restore the natural flow of the stream that was blocked by man-made debris deposited there by the storm,” he says. “We started the day with a driving tour along the path of the tornado and ended on the outskirts of town at Hurricane Creek.”

Photgraphy by Heather Smith. Design by Amanda Sockwell.

“Those who helped me clean up the debris on my property really helped restore some sense of order to my life,” he says. “I, along with the Outdoor Action participants, was happy to help Hurricane Creek in the same way.” Last April’s tornado took many things from Mecredy, but it could not take away his hope for a better, stronger Tuscaloosa. “Things will never be like they were before the storm,” he admitted. “But I know that in due time we will all adapt to a new level of normal.”



I wanted to provide other students with a sense of belonging and accomplishment at college. I feel that through Outdoor Action I have been able to do this. - Emily Strong

18 Wheels &Counting By Alexandra Ellsworth

Teen Nickelodeon award-winner continues leading relief efforts




uch has changed since the last time James O’Dwyer was here. Most of the debris left behind in the wake of the April 27 tornado has been cleared. But as he drives down McFarland one August night, it still seems strangely dark. The restaurants that once occupied the block on McFarland Boulevard and 15th Street are still gone. The houses, once home to many students of the University, are missing as well. “For just as far as you can see, it’s just black,” O’Dwyer says. “That is what was really weird for me.” Seven months later, O’Dwyer received an award from Nickelodeon for his work in the months following the April tornadoes. He continues working to help those who lost

“I felt something tell me, you can’t just sit there and watch this, you need to do something about it.” - O’Dwyer of tornado relief efforts

everything return their lives to normal. O’Dwyer, a mechanical engineering student and member of the University Fellows Program at the University of Alabama Honors College, is now the vice president of Magnolia Disaster Relief. Through Magnolia he was able to help fill roughly 18 big rig trucks and 20-foot box trucks and take them to locations that, while impacted by the tornado, did not receive as much attention as Tuscaloosa. When O’Dwyer went home to Atlanta, he says he “felt something tell me, ‘You just can’t sit there and watch this. You need to do something about it.’” O’Dwyer sent out Facebook messages and emails asking people if they had food, clothing or anything they would be willing to donate. He would take the donations back to Tuscaloosa when he went to get his belongings from his dorm. “People just kept coming, and before we knew it we had to go rent one of those big cargo vans to carry all of the stuff, because in 24 hours, our entire driveway was covered,” O’Dwyer says. It was three or four days after the tornado, and the city was flooded with supplies and volunteers. O’Dwyer stayed for a couple of days and did relief work, then

he returned to Atlanta for a week. People continued to bring donations to O’Dwyer’s house, and he had an opportunity to get an 18-wheeler truck to take the supplies. O’Dwyer met Lani Nichols through Facebook, and he asked her for help in filling the truck. Nichols would become the president of Magnolia Disaster Relief. Kiva John Adkins, Amanda Miegs and Satyl Patel comprised the rest of Magnolia’s board. “[Nichols] was doing kind of the same thing I was,” O’Dwyer says. “Her friend lived in Trenton, Georgia and so she just started a garage donation site, and it had grown and snowballed, and she got put in the position for coordinating for the entire state.” Nichols began working with O’Dwyer, and they did three supply drives together to smaller more rural towns that had not received much help. “After working together and talking pretty much every day we were finally like, ‘Why don’t we just do this together?’” Nichols says. “We had no idea what it would become.” TV stations began to take an interest in the work O’Dwyer and Nichols were doing. Nickelodeon awarded O’Dwyer with the

TeenNick HALO Award for his tornado relief efforts. “He is an amazing person for a 19-year-old,” Nichols says. “He is incredibly humble. He is not doing this for anything other than he felt he needed to. He is accountable and responsible, and I am blessed to have him as my partner.” Dr. Jacqueline Morgan, director of the University Honors Program and the University Fellows Experience, says she really appreciates O’Dwyer’s commitment to helping others and his humility. “He doesn’t need the limelight,” Morgan says. “There is intrinsic motivation out of his desire to give to others. That is one of the things I respect most about him.” Nichols and O’Dwyer worked many 18-hour days during the months following the tornado. Even though the immediacy of the disaster has worn off, they continue to help bring people’s lives back to normal, focusing on specific family needs. “After time passes, people move on,” Nichols says. “Unless you’ve seen it, you can’t really grasp the magnitude of something like this. We explained it to people so they could understand what it was like, and we did what we could to help others who couldn’t help themselves.”

“He is an amazing person for a 19-year-old. He is incredibly humble. He is not doing this for anything other than he felt he needed to.”

Above: O’Dwyer smiles as he stands before the many donations he’s helped procure for those in need. Left: James O’Dwyer and Lani Nichols discuss their relief efforts among the fruits of their labors. Photography by Carly Hannah. Design by Katie Clarke.



- Lani Nichols of O’Dwyer

will tweet for food

will tweet for food #Panhellenic president explains how social media helped students provide thousands of post-tornado meals by Laura Monroe




hey organized hundreds of their fellow students to cook and deliver thousands of hot meals after the devastating April 27 tornado—and in only 140 characters. The UA Greek Relief program utilized social media outlets like Twitter to spread quickly their needs for volunteers and supplies across the country in the weeks following the storms. Ashley Getwan, a UA senior and the Panhellenic

Patrick Morris, coordinator and now co-chairman for the UA Greek Relief Board of Trustees, helped direct the program from the beginning. “Greek Relief started when a few of my fraternity brothers and me were sitting around the day after the storm trying to figure out how we could help, and we realized how much food that our cooks had ordered for the remainder of school. We realized that, instead of letting that food go to waste, we should cook it, box it up, and distribute it around the city,” Morris says. The Delta Kappa Epsilon house Ashley Getwan UA_Greek_Relief became the “pantry” and stored the food and donations that were collected. Meals “We would tweet things like, ‘Hey, we need powdered were cooked at the Sigma Nu, Phi Gamma formula,’ and someone would retweet us five seconds later Delta and Beta Theta Pi houses. to say they had just bought 10 cans and were on their way,” Getwan describes the process as an assembly line that, at first, created random hot meals with whatever was available. “During those first days we were serving random Association President, says that email, Facebook and Twitter combinations like hot dogs and scrambled eggs,” Getwan played a crucial role in the program’s success. She spent says. “As the week went on, the plates became a little more hours sitting at a computer with a phone and a walkie-talkie desirable.” in hand to help with logistics. On the first day, UA Greek Relief tweeted that it would “Using [social media and networking] is second nature take volunteers at 10 a.m. Students of all ages, Greeks and to people our age. If you don’t know what something is you non-Greeks, came together to help the community. Families, just Google it,” Getwan says. “I think it played a huge role in alumni and university staff volunteered to cook or deliver helping us to be so quick and efficient.” meals across Tuscaloosa. The Community Service Center After the tornado, when phone service was unreliable, the sent volunteers as well. Internet became the best tool to spread information. Getwan “Everybody wanted to help, but many times the places began tweeting from the program’s account while other they went to volunteer didn’t know how to use them yet,” volunteers were organizing. Within 24 hours, the UA Greek Getwan says. “This gave everyone a place to connect with the Relief Twitter had over 4,000 followers.

About @UA_Greek_Relief 736








Photos: Ashley Getwan (top right) & Patrick Morris (bottom left) as photographed by Carly Hannah. Design by Jane Ellis.

will tweet for food right people.” She fondly remembers a family who postponed their beach trip in order to volunteer with the program. The husband and wife, along with their two young children, drove boxed meals to locations that Getwan was able to find many times through social networking.



the day when a group of people have a common goal and can band together, they can accomplish amazing things.” Meg McCrummen, now a UA graduate, oversaw what Getwan calls the “food pantry” operations. She says she is proud to say she was part of the program. “For those of us who left campus never to return as undergraduates, it was all a bit surreal,” McCrummen says. “There was a certain Patrick Morris UA_Greek_Relief closure, however, in spending every waking “We were able to spread our message of UA Greek hour giving back to the community that Relief to thousands of people daily through our Twitter for four years had given us so much. And after the shock and heartbreak of so much and Facebook pages.” devastation, we couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”

Getwan also remembers reading another tweet from a group in Nashville that used Facebook to instruct friends to bring supplies to a parking lot. When the RV was full they placed a sign in the window that said “Donations for Tuscaloosa,” and at every gas station they stopped at on the way to Greek Relief headquarters, people would selflessly hand them money. People would tweet their needs and where volunteers could deliver supplies and the UA Greek Relief program would take care of the rest. “We would tweet things like, ‘Hey, we need powdered formula,’ and someone would retweet us five seconds later to say they had just bought 10 cans and were on their way,” Getwan says. Though it was not the intention of the account’s creators, the UA Greek Relief Twitter feed gained recognition across the country. Followers tweeted their support and thanked the students. On May 1 the account’s 4,000 followers read that the program had delivered over 8,000 meals in one day and had accounted for one-fourth of the meals delivered in the Tuscaloosa area. Tweets like this one inspired more volunteers to join the effort and, donations continued to come. Social networking was key to many outside of Tuscaloosa who donated to the relief fund. “We were able to spread our message of UA Greek Relief to thousands of people daily through our Twitter and Facebook pages,” Morris says. “I can honestly say I am not surprised at the impact we were able to make because I know at the end of

About @UA_Greek_Relief 736









Photos:Volunteers for UA Greek Relief prepare hot meals for Tuscaloosa residents. Photography by Carly Hannah & Universiy Relations.

Team Up to Build Up Non-profit Project Team Up brings students, volunteers, Saban out to rebuild city. By Danielle Drago




riving down the main street in Holt, a clear view of Soma Church protrudes from the otherwise sparse landscape. It was not always like this. After the 2011 tornado that hit Tuscaloosa tore through the Holt area, the church was all that remained in a two block radius. The building now holds Project Team Up’s headquarters and has been a central location for the rebuilding and recovery of the community that was devastated by the natural disaster. Project Team Up is a non-profit organization that formed after a tornado devastated Tuscaloosa on April 27, 2011. Riz Shakir, an adjunct professor in the business school and a part-time professor in the Honors College, serves as Project Team Up’s founder and president. Project Team Up focuses mainly on providing assistance for what affected

people’s insurance did not pay for. This usually involves repairing homes or rebuilding homes on the same property, or ‘bridging the gap’ by providing resources needed in the rebuilding phase. The organization formed after a multitude of groups wanted to help. “We wanted to make a greater impact by pooling resources in the Holt area,” Shakir says. “There was no coordination, and sometimes they were replicating each other’s services and not knowing that they were stepping on each other’s feet. Therefore we needed a framework of organization.” Much of the success of the organization can be attributed to Shakir, who has volunteered full-time through organizations for over a decade. Though unassuming in a baseball cap and cargo pants, Shakir was the founder of a company based in Chicago that was traded on the NASDAQ. He soon,

however, found that he wasn’t enjoying the business world as much as he could. “I didn’t like the Wall Street attitude of things,” Shakir says. “I decided that my heart was in helping other entrepreneurs start businesses.” After relocating to his wife’s hometown of Tuscaloosa, his volunteer work led him to Reach Out Worldwide, an organization that responded quickly and thoroughly to the April tragedy. Project Team Up had one very influential supporter – Alabama head football coach Nick Saban. Nick’s Kids, a charity founded by Saban and his wife, Terry, donated an initial $50,000 to the cause. The Alabama football team also volunteered over the summer. “Saban volunteered his time to be out there promoting it and made calls to the potential donors, and he highlighted the plight of the situation. His wife is a

Photos of Project Team Up site as photographed by Sara Johnson. Design by Shamaria Borden.

Armstrong says. Ultimately, HCA hopes to extend its efforts to rebuilding Tuscaloosa, according to Broman. “I think we would be remiss to not utilize the resources that we have in the Honors College and utilize these able bodied students who can help and are willing to help and are looking for ways to plug in. I really tried to focus on that this year. Not helping out would be out of the question,” she says. Project Team Up was started to fill a need, Shakir says, and will remain as long as there are unmet needs. However, though Project Team Up may cease to exist in the future, the impact it has made in the community and residents will not. Already those who have received aid have volunteered at the homes and construction sites of others, many of whom they do not even know. “That’s the best part, seeing people pay it forward. It is what Project Team Up, and a community, is all about,” Shakir says.

“It surprises me because they weren’t necessarily connected to this place before they got there, but they found a way to contribute and help out” - Emily Broman


“I didn’t like the Wall Street attitude of things. I decided that my heart was in helping other entrepreneurs start businesses.” - Riz Shakir

tornado relief,” Broman says. Though most were yet to be directly connected to the University and Tuscaloosa, freshman were some of the first people to respond to the HCA and Project Team Up’s call for volunteers. “It surprises me because they weren’t necessarily connected to this place before they got there, but they found a way to contribute and help out,” says Broman. Freshman Kevyn Armstrong volunteers every Thursday for Project Team Up. She says she feels Project Team Up has made a difference in the area. “Every Thursday morning when I drive down to work the desk, I must pass by destroyed homes, churches and business, damaged trees, debris and eerily empty plots of land. When I see all of this damage, I realize that there is a lot of work that still needs to be done in helping to rebuild Tuscaloosa. Passing all of the destroyed homes every Thursday is certainly sobering, but when I see the Project Team Up sign at a house under construction, I am reassured that I am doing something worthwhile,”


phenomenal lady and was very actively involved in [promoting the charity]. They have been great supporters throughout this whole thing,” Shakir said. In addition to Saban and the championship football team, Anthony Grant’s men’s basketball team volunteered, as well as Gene Stallings, the 1992 Alabama football national championship coach. “He lives on a ranch, so he really showed the younger guys up,” Shakir says. The Honors College Assembly offered its support and volunteers as soon as school began. Emily Broman, director of civic engagement for the Honors College Assembly, first heard of Project Team Up over the summer following the April tornado. “A lot of what HCA currently does is contributing to tutoring or mentoring in local schools, and I felt that not only because of the tornado, but also because we need ways to engage students in something different [this was] a good outlet for students who wanted to become involved in



NATURE THROUGH MY EYES HANNAH GRACE VANCLEAVE Nature is something we take with us every day of our lives, even if we do not realize it. It is something beautiful that can make your emotions range from happy to miserable, sad to grateful. Its beauty has an affect on our lives that captivates us in the smallest ways.

I took these pictures in an Honors photography class in the Fall 2011. Our final project encouraged us to express ourselves personally and artistically through choosing our own themes to shoot. I chose to capture nature, appreciating all things beautiful and the life we live through a lens.









Budding tr avel wr iters shar e ces study abroad expe r ien

New Zealand



By Isabela Morales

as Mosaic’s ly us vo er n h ug la s er el av The four tr t in the student en pm ui eq is h up ts se cameraman Weathers, a junior as gl ou D l. al H t ot N of lounge ith a joke: w on si n te e th ks ea br , mathematics major thing and “Should we do the ESPN a?” look straight at the camer ish Dr. Timothy Croft, Engl professor and director of the UA in New Zealand program, chimes in. “I’ll wink when I want to talk,” he adds.

Tim Croft: It’s different than being in a classroom reading great travel writing and not be able to travel, just having to look out onto the Quad … But the first year I did it, I hadn’t done a study abroad program before. I had no idea whether I would ever pull it off. Douglas Weathers: The creative writing class ended with a group video detailing our experiences of New Zealand culture and comparing it to Alabama culture. We amassed a really eclectic body of work

here but when I go back I have these Americanisms I’ve developed, like not being to get Dr. Pepper there. Here, I just want to get a coffee in a cup, a proper porcelain cup. Barksdale: I enjoyed watching them make the coffee in New Zealand, with the foam and espresso, it’s an art. You know those pictures on the Internet of the latte with the heart in the foam? They just do that, every time. Weathers: There’s something about getting fish and chips in New Zealand. And then the hotel we stayed at in Christchurch did the best eggs benedict. Ten years off my life, easy.

What are some of the differences between Alabama and New Zealand culture? Croft: I’m a kiwi, but I’ve been here in Alabama for ten years, so I’m probably not the best person to ask that question. I feel that now I’m a foreigner in both countries. I’m a kiwi


Can you describe the UA in New Zealand program?

during the class—we had our restaurant reviews, and my favorite piece was a short story I wrote about two little kids, set in New Zealand. Nadia Barksdale: We wrote different articles to put together in a pamphlet or travel guide. I wrote about brunches—I really enjoyed having brunch in New Zealand all the time. Shea Stripling: It was kind of like a Lonely Planet’s guide to New Zealand. I talked about the used bookstores. I had to throw away a lot of my stuff that I came with because by the end I had a suitcase full of books. And I actually had trouble with the customs people—I was like, “please God, just don’t take the books!”


uickly the panelists grow more comfortable, English majors Shea Stripling and Nadia Barksdale chatting about their encounter with an extra on the set of The Hobbit in Wellington, New Zealand. The professor and his three students mentally return to Christchurch, Wellington, and Queenstown, New Zealand, where they studied world literature and travel writing in the summers of 2010 and 2011. Once the cameraman gives a cue, we begin.

A lot of study abroad, you end up going to other classrooms to study. But in this place, it was just wherever we could get enough chairs and space to talk about Tartuffe or Dostoevsky.



Besides the food, were there other stand-out moments of the trip or unique cultural experiences? Weathers: I went during World Cup season—soccer World Cup, not quidditch, regrettably. We would go to the bars at two in the morning to watch America play. Having that experience of being surrounded by people watching soccer who really loved it was cool. Croft: The first year, in 2010, we went to my dad’s sheep farm and

they held over a few sheep to shear. We decided that was probably a bit of a liability to shear them ourselves, but we did have a shearer come to do it for us. Weathers: We got some of the wool, and went to this church in Oxford where there are these ladies who spin wool. We all got to take a turn at the spindle and try to make it into thread—the operative word being try, because it was really hard to do. Definitely not something I would get to do in America. Stripling: Another thing we did was to go to a Marae, which is a Maori [the indigenous peoples of New Zealand] ceremony, on Victoria University’s campus. Croft: We got welcomed inside the Marae, and there were these amazing carvings inside from different families and tribes from all over New Zealand.

Stripling: Oh! Also, we went to Parliament, which was a very intense, exhilarating experience. Unlike our House of Representatives in session, there’s a lot of arguing, and intense name-calling and laughing. It was very theatrical, and I got really into it. They even brought up the issue of Peter Jackson filming, and there was some issue of the filming crews cheating some law. Then someone just stood up and shouted: “You don’t like hobbits!”

weird to say, since every day you get up and ask yourself “What cereal am I going to eat?” For people who have never dipped their feet west of the Mississippi, literally in a day, to do all the life-changing experiences at once—you see how you can actually cope on your own. You’re learning all the time, even if you’re not really aware that you’re learning.

Photography submitted by UA in NZ students. Design by Jane Ellis.


Weathers: My travel experience up to New Zealand was very limited. Then I find in one day that I’m flying to Los Angeles, Sydney, Australia, and New Zealand. A lot of study abroad, you end up going to other classrooms to study. But in this place, it was just wherever we could get enough chairs and space to talk about Tartuffe or Dostoevsky. And then in the afternoon, we’d go to the beach and write. It was definitely a different learning experience. Croft: From a faculty perspective, what I see on the part of students is a fundamental decision to change your life. It sounds


In more general terms, why did you choose to study abroad?

An American in Egypt Journalist, Honors College alumna puts life and safety on the line By Laura Monroe



n Oct. 9, 2011, Kristen Trotter Chick found herself witnessing history as a peaceful protest turned violent in Cairo, Egypt. Christians protesting both the burning of a church and the government’s weak response to the attack held a peaceful demonstration that day. Protestors told Chick that when they arrived at the state television building, they were attacked by members of the military who ran over them with armored vehicles and shot them with live ammunition. Although the state television reported that the protestors had attacked soldiers, Chick—a reporter for the Christian Science Monitor in Egypt—went to the morgue to speak with witnesses and discovered a much different story. “There was blood and gore everywhere,” Chick says. “It was the aftermath of a massacre, perpetrated by government troops against their own people, and it was shocking.” Chick realizes the risks of her job and has experienced violence firsthand. She has grown used to tear gas and was shot at with rubber bullets in January.

“In one instance, a 16-year-old boy shielded me with his body as the rubber bullets ricocheted off the walls around us,” Chick says. Though some of her most vivid memories, these incidents are only two of the dangerous situations Chick has faced in the course of her work. Her job is high-risk, but the Honors College alum sees every day as a chance to learn. “I’ve learned a lot this year about how to be a better reporter, how to cover big breaking news events, and about how to stay safe in dangerous situations,” she explains. Caitlin Trotter, Chick’s younger sister, often worries about her sister’s safety when she is abroad, but is not surprised that Chick chose this career. “Since high school, Kristen has had her heart set on being an international journalist, and she has always been very motivated and successful at what she sets out to do,” Trotter says. “Frankly, I would be surprised if she wasn’t doing what she’s doing now.” While Chick’s motivation dates back to high school, she began her preparations for international journalism while attending Alabama.

Photos submitted by Kristen Trotter Chick. Design by Shamaria Borden.


reporting. Chick says that the police and military sometimes use sexual harassment to intimidate journalists and protesters. “It’s hard to do your job when plunging into the crowd can be personally dangerous,” Chick says. “It’s an occupational hazard for women here, and you have to learn to protect yourself as much as you can, and deal with it when it happens.” The danger Chick risks every day is foreign to most UA students, but with her passion and the support of her family, Chick continues to pursue her dream career. “She’s brave, honest, and committed to her work,” Trotter says. “Nothing surprises me about Kristen.”


“When I started at Alabama, I began studying Arabic. In 2005 I spent two semesters studying abroad at the American University in Cairo,” Chick says. “The visit tremendously increased my interest in the region and confirmed my desire to work there.” During her “In one instance, a 16-yearstudy abroad old boy shielded me with his program, Egypt was body as the rubber bullets in the middle of a protest movement ricocheted off the walls against President around us.” Hosni Mubarak, - Kristen Trotter Chick a precursor of the revolution. Her fascination with the country grew as she realized she was experiencing important moments in history. The next year, in the summer of 2006, Chick worked as an intern at the Lebanese newspaper, The Daily Star, in Beirut. It was the same summer that Hezbollah and Israel fought a monthlong war. “The experience of being there and in disguise. The difficulty of Chick’s job reporting on the conflict tremendously increased because people quickly became reinforced my realization that this is what suspicious and hostile toward her. I wanted to do with my life—report on Chick says this atmosphere still the Middle East,” Chick says. persists. Though she still experiences this While covering the first round of excitement every day, she often faces parliamentary elections in November, obstacles because of who she is, an she interviewed people in a poor area American. of Cairo who were standing in line at a “Before this year, it wasn’t too polling station. difficult to report as an American in “Several men were convinced that Egypt,” Chick says. “Many Egyptians my colleague and I were spies, and began strongly disagree with U.S. policy in yelling and screaming at us and telling Egypt and the Middle East, but they the people we were interviewing not to make a distinction between the policy give us any information,” she says. and the people. But this year, things Chick also faces difficulties being a changed.” woman in the Middle East. Chick watched as the regime spread Sexual harassment is a daily rumors that foreign journalists were spies occurrence and often threatens her


By Brittney Knox

Pre-med, Spanish students volunteer at Nicaraguan health clinic




wo students volunteering at a clinic witnessed the circle of life on only their second day of work. Georgia Gamble held the hand of a woman at the end of life as she took her last breath—while in the next room, two other students helped an infant girl take her first. Gamble, a junior on the pre-med track at the University of Alabama, joined six other Honors College students with a focus in medicine and Spanish to take their classroom experiences abroad in Nicaragua for two weeks in the summer of 2011. In Nicaragua, a Third World country,

there was a need for assistance in the clinics to help organize the pharmacy, shadow and aid the doctors and, oftentimes, just the need for an extra face to give a smile. On that day, Gamble unexpectedly had to witness something she would have to face further in her medical profession – death. “So I held her hand, and two minutes later she stopped breathing,” Gamble says. “I looked at the security guard with an AK47 straight across his chest. [He] had not smiled the entire time, and [I] asked, ‘Did she just die?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ That was the only time he had moved from his wall or said anything. I had to leave the room, and I

just started crying.” One room down the hall, UA student Amanda Wright held the hand of a young mother giving birth. “At first we were just watching the delivery, and didn’t realize that the doctors actually wanted us to help. They don’t have nurses walking around in Bugs Bunny scrubs to do the things like hold the mother’s hand or run and get things like we do in the United States, so that’s where we filled in,” Wright says. “I felt helpless watching the 15-year-old mother deliver her baby in what looked like a rusty chair with hardly any pain medicine, but I did what I

Photo main: (left to right)Georgia Gamble, Audrey Inman, Juan Black and Amanda Wright as photographed by Mitchell Hughes. Design by Jane Ellis.


treated due to a fall resulting in a cut in the back of his head. “There was no one there to just say, ‘hey, baby it’s OK, squeeze my hand,’ and simply relax the little boy until they finished,” she says. “The students on the trip were young and full of energy so it allowed the patients to feel welcome to the clinic,” troop leader and graduate student Juan Black, known as “Papa Juan” to the students, says. “My trip to Nicaragua made me realize that I love kids. I don’t know if it was just because my Spanish was on the level of a two-year-old,” Amanda Wright, senior


could. We all did.” “When I asked the mom to squeeze my hand she was so appreciative to have someone there to help relax her,” she says. Baby Carmenita may not remember the American student that held her mom’s hand and helped aid her delivery, but Amanda will never be able to forget her claimed “godchild” and how she will forever be connected to that beautiful newborn. Audrey Inman, the student Wright was paired with, says she enjoyed seeing the smiles on the little children’s faces. A pivotal moment came for Inman when she took a small boy’s hand as he was

The people here appreciated the doctor so much they would

line up outside of the clinic hours before it opened, in what appeared as their ‘Sunday best,’ to do something as simple as get their blood sugar checked.



- Amanda Wright

pre-med student adds with a chuckle. “I definitely feel that I am geared more towards something with pediatrics because I played with those kids all the time and had so much fun.” Culture and language were not the only things students had to adapt to—there were some students who had trouble adapting to some medical practices. “There is a lot of poverty, and it was difficult for the students to get used to that situation such as the hospitals and the clinics not being taken care of properly because of the lack of resources,” Black says. “At first I was almost angry at how they were practicing medicine,” Wright says. “They didn’t really use gloves, or check blood pressure that well. Yet, the more

acclimated we got to how they practiced we realized that things there are just different.” She says sometimes she really admired the patient admiration for the doctors; it was so different from in the United States where people dread a doctor’s visit. “The people here appreciated the doctor so much they would line up outside of the clinic hours before it opened, in what appeared as their ‘Sunday best,’ to do something as simple as get their blood sugar checked,” she says. Black says the students learned a great deal of things personally as well as in terms of their careers. Gamble’s experience with the elderly woman, and her fellow travelers’ with baby Carmenita, has indeed given her a new perspective.

Photos submitted by Georgia Gamble, Audrey Inman, Juan Black, and Amanda Wright.

This led me to consider that most photographs are taken along the normal eye line (roughly parallel to the ground) with

only minor angular deviations upwards or downwards. Hence, I posited that pitching the camera 90 degrees higher than usual should induce a similarly unique effect; the term “zenith� correspondingly refers to the point on the celestial sphere directly above the observer. These photos are not meant to be complex or grandiose; instead, they feature austere compositions, fundamental symmetries, and dominant colors, which emerge as natural consequences of simply aiming the camera upwards.


Venturing into foreign settings often yields intriguing photos, given the wealth of exotic subjects and scenery, whether majestic natural formations or teeming urban environments. However, I had previously been able to expose the dramatic interplay between physical perspective and subject perception solely by varying the technical aspects of otherwise conventional shots.







The Mosaic Staff













1. Isabela Morales [Editor-in-Chief] senior from Placentia, CA, History & American Studies • 2. Lauren Aylworth [Creative Director] senior from Enterprise, AL, Advertising • 3. Mitchell Hughes [Editor of Photography] senior from Homewood, AL, Physics & Mathematics • 4. Sarah Massey [Production Manager] senior from Cincinnati, Ohio, English & Media, Culture, and Communication • 5. Danielle Drago [Student Advisor] senior from Cary, NC, Finance & Economics • 6. Nathan Proctor [Copy Editor] freshman from Biddeford, ME, Journalism • 7. Waseem Hussaini [Web/Media Manager] junior from Hoover, AL, Nursing • 8. Shamaria Borden [Designer] senior from Kellyton, AL, Art & Art History • 9. Melissa Brown [Writer] junior from Winfield, AL, English & Journalism • 10. Kristen Campbell [Feature Writer] sophomore from Gilbertown, AL, Journalism & Pre-law • 11. Katie Clarke [Designer] junior from Greenville, SC, Studio Art •

18. 21.

22. 17.



10. 8.


12. Jane Ellis [Designer] senior from Memphis, TN, Digital Art • 13. Allexandra Ellsworth [Writer] sophomore from Decatur, AL, Journalism • 14. Carly Hannah [Photographer] sophomore from Florence, AL, Journalism & French • 15. Sara Johnson [Photographer] sophomore from Dallas, TX, Photography • 16. Brittney Knox [Writer] senior from Pratt City, AL, Journalism • 17. Laura Monroe [Writer] junior from Muscle Shoals, AL, Journalism & English • 18. Anna Price Olson [Writer] sophomore from Thomasville, GA, English & Journalism • 19. Amanda Sockwell [Designer] junior from Pinson, AL, Digital Media • 20. Heather Smith [Photographer] senior from Huntsville, AL, Visual Journalism • 21. Katie Thurber [Writer] sophomore from Ocean Springs, MS, Journalism • 22. Hannah Grace VanCleave [Photographer] sophomore from Birmingham, AL, Public Relations

* Not pictured.






Advisers 1.

Chris Bryant is assistant director of media relations and director of research communications at The University of Alabama. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in communications from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 1991 and lives in Gordo with his wife, Dawn, and their two sons, Jackson and Noah.


Laura Lineberry is a full-time instructor of graphic design at The University of Alabama College of Arts & Sciences Art Department. A graduate of The Florida State University, she earned a bachelor’s degree in visual communication. Lineberry also holds a master’s degree in advertising and public relations from The University of Alabama. She is married to Casey Lineberry, and they have a 21-year-old son, Drew Madison.


Chip Cooper is Artist in Residence in the Honors College and a faculty member of Arts & Sciences. He has published seven books, the latest La Habana Vieja [Old Havana] with Alabama Press came out this spring. He has exhibited his work nationally and internationally.






the end.

The Univeristy of Alabama Honors College Box 870169 Tuscaloosa, AL 35486-0169



(or perhaps just the beginning ... )

Copyright Š 2012 University of Alabama Honors College All Rights Reserved

Mosaic Spring 2012  

The student publication of The University of Alabama's Honors College - Spring 2012 Issue

Mosaic Spring 2012  

The student publication of The University of Alabama's Honors College - Spring 2012 Issue