Mosaic 2019 Spring Edition

Page 1


The University of Alabama • 1

Co-Editors-in-Chief Sara Beth Bolin and Kate Silvey Creative Director Ryan Truitt Photography Editors Sarah Westmoreland and Michael Beer Online Editor Christian DelaCruz Social Media Editor Annie Hughes Managing Editor Will Raney Writers: Ashley Kaitz, Carlyle Ascik, Justin Levy, Kate Silvey, Kenny Quayle, Maria French, Natalie Vande Linde, Sara Beth Bolin, Susanna Dunn, Will Raney, Zachary Stewart Photographers: Abbi White, Amelie Lagarde, Ben Wasilewski, Catherine McClain, Greg Liesen, Hudson Nuckolls, Jake Eagle, Kat Glueckert, Katie Brothers, Kassandra Boor, Kayla Duffy, Kendra Giles, Michael Beer, Sarah Westmoreland, Sarah Zombo, Sean Keenan Designers: Arianna Elkins, Calvin Madison, Carlee Cousineau, Caroline Jerome, Chris Jarmon, James Crenshaw, Kara Adams, Marissa Elkins, Sophie Keeler Online and Social Media Team: Amanda Robertson, Annie Hughes, Chandler Howard, Christian DelaCruz, Emma Ghaemmaghami, Jenna Minser, Julie Warchol, Michael Hincker, Rebecca Shofner, Taylor Drake Senior Advisor Dr. John Latta Photography Advisor Zach Riggins Design Advisor Jonathan Cumberland Online and Social Media Advisor Rebecca Todd Minder Cover Design by Caroline Jerome

2 • Honors College

letter from the

editors Editing a magazine is weird. Don’t misunderstand us - it’s a wonderful position. We get to work with an incredible staff from all geographic and academic backgrounds and write about incredible people and places. As co-editors of Mosaic, we’ve done things we never anticipated to do when we first signed up for this class: everything from sifting through nineteenth-century documents in Hoole Special Collections Library to giving a presentation in a hotel wedged in the hustle and bustle of Times Square. Through Mosaic, we’ve done things we never anticipated when we first signed up for this class. Almost every story in this issue takes place either on The University of Alabama’s campus or the surrounding Tuscaloosa area. As the pages of this magazine took shape, we were reminded of the importance of this town to our lives— what we’ve learned and how we’ve grown since we arrived in Tuscaloosa. As university students and members of the Honors College, we are often glancing ahead toward the next chapter of our lives. Rightfully so, as college is a time to explore career options, cultivate skills, and prepare for a leap out into the wider world. But while working with the staff of this publication, listening as they pitch story ideas and chart the magazine’s course, we were constantly reminded of the stories taking place right here in the present. This issue of Mosaic is a love letter to the students, artists, researchers, professors, volunteers, and countless others who we walk alongside everyday. It pays homage to the nooks and crannies and hole-in-the-wall restaurants of our college home. As Tuscaloosa celebrates its 200th birthday this year, we’re reminded of the impact it’s had on the thousands of people who have walked through its streets, embraced its atmosphere and loved its people. We’re grateful for the opportunities this area has given us, for the gift of our campus and a magazine like Mosaic to give us a voice. So here’s to you, Tuscaloosa.

The University of Alabama • 3


4 • Honors College



The University of Alabama • 5

Have a story idea? Share it with Mosaic! Send your ideas to:

6 • Honors College


Finding Strength in Music By Susanna Dunn

The The University University of of Alabama Alabama •• 77

Music is powerful. It is one of the most universal forms of art, constantly in action all around the world, and it has been for centuries. Music creates emotion and stems from creativity and a need for individual expression. We rarely encounter a day free from music, whether it be a song playing at the grocery store or on the radio in the car. For many clients of UA music therapy students, music is much more than background noise; it can be therapeutic. Music therapy, a form of therapeutic treatment in which music is used to help individuals reach specific goals and promote health and quality of life, has become exponentially popular across the globe within the past few decades. The music therapy program at The University of Alabama focuses on utilizing students’ musical talents to engage in meaningful relationships with clients in a way that promotes growth and positive outcomes. Music therapy majors at UA utilize clinical and therapeutic techniques to achieve emotional, physical, behavioral, and cognitive goals in clients. Junior music therapy student Emily Kent is just one example of how devoted many music therapy students are to their clients. For instance, Kent’s experience leading a group therapy session in writing a song together was one of the key moments in her experience as a musician. “Music activates parts of the brain that other auditory or visual stimuli cannot activate,” Kent said. “It is an extremely powerful and emotionally therapeutic tool.” Following acceptance into the university and successfully auditioning for the School of Music, students in the music therapy program tend to spend 15 to 20 hours a week outside of class

8 • Honors College

“Music activates parts of the brain that other auditory or visual stimuli cannot activate.”

completing coursework or preparing for practicum work. The workload for these students is not light to say the least, but many students who plan to pursue careers in music therapy find that the personal fulfillment yields the time and effort spent through the program well worth it. There are many routes often taken after graduating college with a bachelor’s. Many students will work in hospitals, medical settings, schools, nursing homes, psychiatric facilities, substance abuse facilities, or private practices according to junior music therapy student Maribeth Vain. “Since music therapists work with such a wide range of people, there are a lot of options for when we leave college,” Vain said. “There are music therapists really everywhere, which is awesome.” Music therapists work with a variety of populations, often including hospitalized clients, people with Alzheimer’s or dementia, people with addictions, and people with autism spectrum disorder. Students like Vain and Kent find empowerment in their ability to connect with their clients through music during difficult times. There are three main takeaways that help differentiate music therapy from other forms of therapy and contribute to the uniqueness of the career field. First, music therapy is based off of reputable clinical research that has validated that music is an effective means of therapy for a variety of conditions. It is important to many musicians that nonmusicians acknowledge the effectiveness of their work, especially

since music therapy is a growing field. Second, music therapy is a non-medicinal form of treatment, although it can be paired with medicine for more intensive cases. Because music therapy often has many holistic benefits, medicine can become less of a necessity among certain populations. Lastly, music therapy is more than just a visitor playing the guitar and singing for a hospitalized person. Music therapists create one-on-one relationships and connect with clients on a personal level, often working with clients who have no experience in music and writing songs about their struggles, regrets, or memories. “We use music to achieve non-music goals,” Vain said. As music therapy becomes a more and more prominent form of therapy, it is becoming clearer that the therapeutic benefits of music are drastically improving the lives of many, one song at a time.

Photographed by: Ben Wasilewski and Kendra Giles Designed by: Marissa Elkins The University of Alabama • 9

Life and Death at the T

By Will Raney

here is a moment of absolute silence after the poet takes the stage and before the stanzas begin to flow where the world seems to stand still, arch its neck towards the microphone, and listen. Tuscaloosa, with its abundance of live poetry readings, is no stranger to these moments. At these events, new life is loosed upon the words of the poet, and the art form of the printed word is transformed into a public anthem. Dr. Sara Pirkle Hughes is the mastermind behind the Pure Products poetry readings, an endeavor through the department of English with over a decade of events behind it. Hughes joined Pure Products as a co-host when she assumed a faculty position at the university two years ago; now, she commands the ship with determination and flare. “Poetry is meant to be heard; it is meant to be performed. Their performances bring the work to life,” said Hughes. It is an unfortunate fact that the majority of exposure Americans have with poetry rarely transcends the printed page. Certain names come to mind - Shakespeare, Plath, Whitman that remind us of clunky high school textbooks that do little to ignite an excitement about the art form. Historically, poetry has

10 • Honors College

always maintained a strong connection with the oral tradition. Epic poetry in particular, such as the Odyssey or Beowulf, exists today because of the strong oral tradition that allowed these words to survive generation after generation.

“Poetry is meant to be heard; it is meant to be performed. Their performances bring their work to life.”

“People want to hear songs and stories it’s in our DNA”

The University of Alabama • 11

“It’s a celebration of what’s common between us: the need to be heard, and the desire and empathy to hear and relate to another person’s story.” “People want to hear songs and stories - it’s in our DNA,” said Hughes. Dr. Brian Whalen, who teaches creative writing in the English department, is a co-collaborator on the Pure Products readings. He is also the genius behind the [Name This] Open Mic Series, which allows undergraduates from all backgrounds the chance to debut original work on a public platform. Much of Whalen’s own writing, including pieces he has performed at Pure Products events, is centered around the loss of his sister, who struggled greatly with substance abuse during her life. Through open mic nights, he has seen students of all trades offer up their own stories in similar ways as a means of connecting. “It’s a celebration of what’s common between us: the need

12 • Honors College

to be heard, and the desire and empathy to hear and relate to another person’s story. There is a deeper kind of human experience, and community celebration, that’s going on under the surface of things,” Whalen said. Becca Isphording, an undergraduate, was a newcomer to the [Name This] reading held earlier this February at UPerk. Before, she had never disclosed her poetry to others apart from a few close friends. She cited previous life experiences and an awareness of important social movements as the driving force behind her writing. “I have turned to poetry for everything since I was seven years old. But until tonight, I’ve never done anything like that,” said Isphording.

The poem Isphording presented was personal, though she often works within the realm of activist poetry, a genre that walks the line between art, discourse, and social criticism. She cited slam poetry as an art form that thrives in the spoken environment, its rhythm an irreproducible component that offers the opportunity for deeper consideration. Poetry readings around Tuscaloosa also draw a diverse crowd of spectators, among them open mic aficionados, poetic amateurs, and total newcomers alike. Sarah Deutsch, a junior in the Honors College, was one of the latter during a cheeky “anti-love” reading on Valentine’s Day at Monarch Espresso Bar. Deutsch indicated she was interested in seeking out the various artistic pockets in Tuscaloosa. The experience of exorcising previous experiences through poetry as a form of therapy was something Whalen and Isphording noted, yet the cathartic effect manifested in the audience as well. “I feel a lot better after tonight— I’ve been very stoic recently working on schoolwork all the time, but I feel like my mind has been cleared and I can work better now,” Deutsch said. As the Pure Products and [Name This] Open Mic events continue onward, what is certain is the indelible influence live poetry has on the Tuscaloosa community. It is an art form that is democratic, unfettered, bursting at the seams, and just one of the facets that demonstrates that the arts scene in Tuscaloosa is as resolute and unflinching as the city itself.

The The University University of of Alabama Alabama •• 13 13

concerts, kilns & CURTAIN CALLS By Kate Silvey

14 • Honors College

I think right now I should enjoy my music world. I should recover my flute playing skills now, not 20 years later. ” The annual Chinese New Year celebration at The University of Alabama is no quiet event. Dr. Fei For a moment, the sounds filling the bustling Ferguson Center ballroom on this early February Hu evening - friends chatting around tables, laughter emerging between bites of traditional dishes - are replaced by the dreamy crescendos of a bamboo flute. Dr. Fei Hu stands on stage in front of the celebration’s attendees, conjuring the music that swells through the room. Accompanied by his daughter on the guzheng, a plucked string instrument, Hu’s music ushers in the Chinese New Year - and a bout of applause. While UA students may only see their professors positioned in front of lecture halls or leading small discussions on a daily basis, much occurs outside of the classroom. Take Hu, for example. A computer and electrical engineering instructor, he devotes a portion of his free time outside of engineering to practicing and playing the bamboo flute, delving into a world of music and artistry that deviates from the requirements of his career. Hu began learning to play the bamboo flute in college after being taught violin by his father at age 15. After 20 years with no practice, he decided to pick up the instrument again and now plays daily, even occasionally treating friends, family and strangers to performances like the one at the Chinese New Year festival. Even Hu’s office, located inside the South Engineering Research Center, boasts of his eagerness and willingness to share his music - an amplifier and a microphone stand perched between a wall and his desk, waiting to be toted out and used on stage. “I’m the advisor of the Chinese Cultural Association here,” Hu said of why he accepts opportunities to play on campus. “And so the students, they want people to know about Chinese culture. Maybe the bamboo flute can show one aspect of Chinese culture.” Inside his office, he scrolls through his laptop and pulls up sam-

ple sheet music with notations scrawled in Chinese characters, then presses play on an audio file. The sound of a bamboo flute emerges, notes singing at high octaves, the song somehow both whimsical and mournful at the same time. “I like this flute because it gives people a feeling of missing home,” Hu said, as the music lilted down the tiled hallways of the South Engineering Research Center. “I like the special atmosphere.” Indeed, a flute like Hu’s, constructed out of bamboo rather than metal like its typical Western counterpart, has a unique sound quality that’s been used in Chinese music for centuries. But while the majority of Hu’s repertoire stems from traditional Chinese music and themes from television shows and movies, he admits that he enjoys playing American classics as well - most notably, “My Heart Will Go On” from the film “Titanic”. “I teach engineering classes, but I also tell myself I’m getting older and older,” Hu said. “I don’t want to wait until retirement to have fun. I think right now I should enjoy my music world. I should recover my flute playing skills now, not 20 years later.” His wife enjoys Chinese music, he says, and his daughter develops her own talent through playing the guzheng. But Hu’s music isn’t solely a family affair - he’s invited his engineering students to see him perform and enjoys performing at cultural events. Mastering the bamboo flute depends on how you utilize your lungs and direct your air, Hu explained. In the same way, indulging in a hobby like this alongside the demands of a career depends on how you use your time. But he believes it to be worth it. “Life is so short,” Hu said. “It’s not wise to spend all your time on research or wait until retirement.” And so, he continues to make music. Bamboo pipes, play on.

The University of Alabama • 15

Dr. Marysia Galbraith’s work as an anthropologist has taken her all across the globe, but it’s seated at the base of a potter’s wheel where another one of her passions unfolds. As a joint appointee with New College and the anthropology department, Galbraith teaches courses on anthropology and art, peoples of Europe, and cultural anthropology, to name a few. Her current research primarily fixates on Jewish heritage in Poland. But long before she was an anthropologist, exploring the development and behavior of humanity, she was creating something of her own. It began in high school, when Galbraith became involved in an after-school program that allowed students to delve into different artistic mediums: paint, silverwork, stained glass … and pottery. “I started on the potter’s wheel, thinking, ‘Oh, I’ll try this, and I’ll try this, and I’ll try this…” Galbraith said, smiling. “And I never really got off the potter’s wheel. I just fell in love with working on it.” In a video posted to her website, a camera films Galbraith as she creates a ceramic bowl. Stained hands cradle a lump of clay as it pirouettes on the potter’s wheel, carefully scooping out its center and shaping its form with precise fingers and palms. In the

Dr. Marysia Galbraith

16 • Honors College

end, that same shapeless lump of earth is transformed into a bowl with a glazed, gleaming cerulean interior, the edges carved with a swirling design. While Galbraith’s interest in ceramics did not necessarily influence her decision to become an anthropologist, her dual passions often converge - sometimes closely, like when she ventured to Southeast Asia to take part in a pilot-study on the Sasak potters of Lombok, Indonesia. As the nation of Indonesia has transitioned from a predominantly agrarian society to one more dependent on industrialization, Galbraith explained, female potters are taking their skills and using them to support their families. “The Indonesian potters are extraordinary because they just hand-build, it’s basic technology,” Galbraith said. “But they make these incredible forms and they do things that, if I hadn’t actually seen it with my own eyes, having 20-plus years of experience with pottery… I would have said ‘you can’t do that, that’s impossible.’” Learning about the ways in which others from all over the world craft their ceramics has influenced how Galbraith has created her own. An experienced and accomplished artist, she’s sold and exhibited her pottery in galleries and shows across the nation. Currently, her ceramics are featured at Naked Art Gallery in Birmingham and the Kentuck Center in Northport. “Having this creative outlet actually makes me more productive of a scholar,” she said. “While I’m doing the pottery, my hands are busy, but my mind is free to be putting together ideas. And so the next day when I go to write, those ideas are already there.”

“ Having this

creative outlet actually makes me more productive of a scholar. ”

The University of Alabama • 17

Daniel Maguire

Until he stepped onstage during a theatrical adaptation of John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice & Men”, Prof. Daniel Maguire never imagined that he’d see his name at the top of a cast list. An instructor with the Honors College and registrar in the Culverhouse College of Commerce, Maguire teaches a course titled “Anarchy and Liberty” and works with data analytics during his working hours. But perhaps unknown to many of his students, he isn’t restricted to teaching in front of classrooms. Sometimes, he can also be found on stage underneath the glow of a spotlight, reciting lines from a script or breaking into song. Although Maguire sang in choirs toward the end of his college career, he’d never formally acted until six years ago, when he decided to audition for a musical.

18 • Honors College

“I auditioned for ‘Spamalot’ with the ACT - the Actor’s Charitable Theater here in town - kind of on a whim,” he said. “I was in a couple of church plays as a kid, but didn’t do high school drama or anything like that.” After performing a number from the musical “Avenue Q”, he learned he was cast. And just like that, a new world opened up. “I got hooked,” he said. “It was a blast.” Since his stage debut, Maguire has acted in numerous shows, both plays and musicals. Most recently, he was cast in ACT’s production of “Of Mice and Men”, in which he plays George, a migrant worker during the Great Depression. But it’s a previous role, that of Giuseppe Zangara in the musical “Assassins”, where Maguire says he truly felt at home on stage and fully immersed in his role - despite being a 6-feet-tall Irishman portraying a 5-feettall Italian immigrant.

“When I stepped onto that stage, that’s who I was,” Maguire said. “No insecurities, no worrying about this - that was it. Which was a really neat feeling! [...] You’re kind of in two places at once - you’re in the character’s space, but you’re cognizant of the fact that you’re playing a part, working within a framework.” It isn’t all spotlights and stage directions for Maguire outside of the classroom, however. After the theatre curtains close and the applause dies down, he dons a jersey and a cap and transitions to working in a completely different environment: a baseball diamond. Maguire has been playing baseball since he was eight years old, and his passion for the sport is evident even in his office inside Mary Alston Hall. A shelf behind his desk is lined with baseballs - most with a special meaning, but a few just simply souvenir balls. Primarily a center-fielder for adult amatuer league team Tuscaloosa Tornados, Maguire finds a new sort of enjoyment in a sport that he’s loved for decades. “I’ve been playing baseball for much longer. It’s a lot more comfortable I guess,” he said. “With any sport, when you’ve played it your whole life, it comes naturally. You’re not necessarily having to think about what you’re doing.” Although theatre and baseball require different skills, Maguire draws parallels between the two. What lures him to both activities? The camaraderie. “I’ve always been a team-sports person,” Maguire said. “Theatre is more similar to that [baseball] than you would think. You’re all part of a team.” His most fond memories in both baseball and theatre lie in the relationships made within small casts and tight-knit teams, in backstage antics and afternoon practices out on the mound. In the end, Maguire encourages everyone, including professors, to find hobbies that tap into interests outside of their careers. It might be nerve-wracking at first, like standing up in front of a full classroom on the first day of the semester, opening your mouth before the opening number of a musical, or tensing your muscles before the first pitch. “Up until the time when you hit that first note and you think, ‘okay, I’ve got this’, or in pitching, feel the nerves going… But once you throw one and get the first strike, you think: Okay. All right,” Maguire said, smiling. “I can do this for another day.”

The University of Alabama • 19

on the same page By Ashley Kaitz

On a chilly Thursday in January, Ridgecrest West buzzed with activity. Students gathered in lounges on each floor of the Honors College dorm, ready to meet for the first time since Christmas Break. Boxes of treats were handed around in the lobby, and the last few stragglers raced up and down the stairs, clutching donuts in one hand and books in the other. At last, they settled into armchairs, ready to discuss the book that had been given to them as part of the Honors Year One course in which they’re enrolled. Titled “The Book of Unknown Americans” and written by Cristina Henríquez, the book was chosen as this year’s common read by a campus-wide committee of students and faculty. Each year, the committee selects a book by an up-and-coming author for all Honors College freshmen to read and discuss. Not just any book can make the cut, however. Dr. Ross Bryan, assistant dean of the Honors College, reported that he typically reads around 30 possible choices each year. Together with a committee, he winnows the imposing stack down to the top three picks. Next, a vote is conducted to determine the winner. Finally, copies of the book are distributed to the Honors College and the author is invited to campus to meet with students and deliver a lecture about the novel.

This year’s common book is a relevant read in more ways than one. “The Book of Unknown Americans” follows the story of Arturo and Alma Rivera, who journey from Mexico to the United States in hopes that their daughter Maribel, who suffered a traumatic brain injury, can receive treatment at a special school in Delaware. Once there, they meet the Toros, a family from Panama with a son, Mayor, who is around Maribel’s age. Although the day-to-day lives of these two families are the primary focus of the story, there are a number of other perspectives sprinkled throughout the book, such as Nelia Zafòn’s, a Puerto-Rican woman who travels to New York to become a dancer. Each character has a different reason for immigrating to the United States, but they are united by the fact that they all end up in the same place – an apartment building in Delaware. Throughout the book, students follow the journey of the Riveras as they come face-to-face with the struggles of adapting to a new culture, make new friends, and ultimately experience an unspeakable tragedy. 20 • Honors College

Although the common book is not always a work of fiction, novels are usually chosen because they introduce a story over which students can bond and start conversations with each other.

Because every freshman in the Honors College reads the common book, its most basic purpose is providing this shared experience. However, the common book also serves a less obvious but equally important purpose: to create a launching point from which readers can begin to familiarize themselves with their own narratives. “Part of what we’re doing in the Honors College is to get you all, as students, to be able to clearly articulate your personal narrative or story,” Bryan explained. “That’s an incredibly good life skill: who are you, why are you, how are you going to get there. Being able to articulate your personal narrative or story is paramount to your success as a human. I think books that hit on that are good.” Beyond prompting students to begin developing and exploring their own stories, “The Book of Unknown Americans” touches on other themes that Dr. Bryan believes are especially useful for new college students. “I think that the overall “Unknown Americans” idea was really interesting because that does go into identity and how we construct our identity,” Bryan said. “You know, one of the really big questions is, ‘what’s more important: how you view yourself,

Members meet and dicuss the book in the common room of Ridgecrest West.

This year’s common read: “The Book of Unknown Americans”

pushed away from in their homes [in Panama], and how bad it was. I guess I’m more sympathetic to them now, to these types of individuals.” Like the characters they spoke about, Hand and Vilagi, along with many other college students, know what it’s like to leave the familiarity of home and start from scratch in a new place.

For freshmen at The University of Alabama, meeting people can be intimidating business. Being a member of the Honors College narrows the field somewhat, and the Honors Year One course provides the perfect opportunity to meet people in your dorm and to have an interesting conversation about books, shared experiences, and life in general. Judging from the lively discussions at the book club meetings held at Ridgecrest West, “The Book of Unknown Americans” has succeeded in providing a platform in which students can do just that. or how others view you?’ I can have all the confidence in the world, or I can think of myself in a certain way, but if other people don’t view me that way, it doesn’t translate into society, or into something that I call ‘cultural capital.’ I think that it’s a really, really interesting idea for freshmen to begin toying with and mulling over.” One of the most prominent features of “The Book of Unknown Americans” is that it is told from multiple perspectives – 11, in fact. Although this format may seem daunting, it also increases the likelihood that the reader will connect with one of the many characters. Benjamin Hand, an Honors College student from Nevada, revealed that the experiences of first-generation immigrants Maribel Rivera and Mayor Toro were not unlike those of his friends from home. “At my high school, I was one of very few people that I knew who didn’t come from a recent immigrant background,” Hand said. “Reading about how a lot of these people [immigrants] struggle with identity and being torn between what their parents want— for them to keep their home culture— and wanting to become American, that reminds me a lot of the struggles that my friends had growing up. A lot of times, kids will feel ashamed that they don’t speak English at home, even if they speak English at school”.

For others, the characters’ stories were an eye-opening experience. Honors College student Luke Vilagi explained that, although he is familiar with more general information about immigration in America, the personal side of the equation, detached from statistics or political motivation, was interesting to read about. “He [Mayor Toro] has a very different opinion from his parents because he doesn’t really identify as Panamanian,” Vilagi said. “He grew up in the U.S. from a very young age, so it’s different to see how he views the U.S. and his life growing up. I can see the troubles that they’re going through, and what they’re being

The common book experience is great way to get connected during the first year on campus.

Photography by Michael Beer Design by Caroline Jerome

The University of Alabama • 21


22 22 •• Honors Honors College College

The University of Alabama • 23

Photographer: Sarah Westmoreland // Designer: Chris Jarmon

Better retteBBetter retteB rehtegoT Together

Arielle Gray and Iyana Gray

24 • Honors College

Katelyn Lambert and Kendal Lambert

The University of Alabama • 25

Dr. Sara Pirkle Hughes and Amy Pirkle

Sometimes while walking the sidewalks of The University of Alabama’s campus, you might think you’re seeing double. Photographer Sarah Westmoreland met with pairs of identical twins who call this campus home, both students and professors, in order to capture their alikeness as pairs as well as their uniqueness as individuals.

26 26 •• Honors Honors College College



A look at one of Tuscaloosa’s favorite live music venues

center of community and growth — that’s what the Druid City Brewing Company, a Tuscaloosa-based taproom and live music venue, strives to be. Founded in 2012 by Bo Hicks and Elliott Roberts, DCBC is best known for being a place where local artists, musicians, and writers come to share their work with a diverse and supportive community, as well as their products. Sitting at a table on the patio, I’m across from Hicks, the head brewer. Van Halen’s “5150” is spinning inside; they keep a collection of vinyl and encourage customers to play their favorites. He reflects with enthusiasm about the crowd here. “Our community is very eclectic. It includes professors, students, artists, working-class folks, and lawyers,” Hicks said. “It’s a melting pot where you’re exposed to more than your own insular circles, which can become like an echo chamber. This is a place to exchange ideas and learn about perspectives that might be completely unfamiliar. Personally, it’s made me a better, wellrounded person.” Tyler Marshall, DCBC’s booking agent, shared a similar perspective. “Spending time and working at DCBC has impacted me immensely. It’s given me a chance to explore doing something that I really love that not a lot of people get the chance to do,” Marshall said. “I’ve made a lot of friends at DCBC that, I hope, will be in my life for a very long time. It’s been pretty great being able to work at my favorite hang out spot. I’d probably be there anyway, so why not book some bands?” It’s clear that DCBC values authenticity. They host original bands and singer-songwriters, as well as open-mic nights every Sunday. “It’s great to see both upcoming artists and people we have no business booking here,” Hicks said.“We don’t charge a cover, and I think people like that. Tyler Marshall and I coordinate the shows. Even if an artist doesn’t fit into our personal tastes, we believe in supporting what’s original and musically valuable.” To Marshall, the shows bring a sense of creativity to the city. “Depending on who we book, we always have the chance to pull in new people. I hope that we do a good job of bringing original, diverse music to Tuscaloosa that you might not hear on The Strip or Downtown. We do our best to promote local and regional

By: Zachary Stewart The University of Alabama • 27

Bo Hicks holding a record by the band: Crimson 28 28••Honors HonorsCollege College

acts, but we also love getting touring bands that might just need a show to help them get to a bigger city. DCBC can become a home away from home for some of these bands, which is really heartwarming,” Marshall said. The music played here is pretty inclusive; patrons could listen to Americana, bluegrass, metal, indie, and Irish folk all in the same week. For up-and-coming local musicians, this is the place to be. Hicks describes the open-mic nights as “featuring a range of skill levels, whether it’s experienced performers or those just beginning to play.” There’s no need to be nervous about it, though. Hicks recounts performing for the first time as being truly fulfilling. “Before I played, I thought it was one of the most terrifying things I’d ever do, but the crowd was so supportive that I felt enveloped by a warm and fuzzy glow,” Hicks said. Inside, the atmosphere is comfortable, and walls feature seriously impressive (and hilarious) local artwork. There’s a chalk-art display behind the bar; Nick Saban, the head football coach at The University of Alabama, is portrayed as the character Thanos from Marvel’s “Infinity War,” wearing several National Championship rings. Ben Smith, a freshman Honors College student from Hudson, Wisconsin, enjoyed the live music aspect of his visit the most. “The music I heard was mostly country and rock, which follow my tastes pretty well. If you like to sit outside and enjoy free music, it’s a great place to go,” Smith said. Whether it’s DCBC’s varied customer base or quirky aesthetic, this speaks to Tuscaloosa’s character, and the future that its residents hope for. “To me, this represents an extension of what I’ve always

wanted for this town,” Hicks said. “Some wish for the city to imitate Athens or Florence — I want Tuscaloosa to be Tuscaloosa. The beer is great, and it obviously brings in a lot of people, but seeing the friendships that have developed here is immensely rewarding.” It’s not the region, the colleges, or the sports that make Tuscaloosa unique. Rather, it’s the people who live here. Establishments like DCBC help to expand the identity of the city beyond that of a college town. While UA clearly plays a large role in the culture of living here, there’s more to Tuscaloosa than being the place where the Crimson Tide wins football games. When Marshall was asked what sets DCBC apart from similar establishments, he said, “DCBC is unique and inclusive because we support local art! Whether that be through music, visuals, or readings. We’re a brewery where you can come watch a Bama game with the biggest fans in town one night, and then show up

Designed By: Arianna Elkins // Photographed by: Kat Glueckert

The The University University of of Alabama Alabama •• 29 29

“I want Tuscaloosa to be Tuscaloosa.” the next night to see a punk band from New York City. I think that’s what makes us special.” Visit the Druid City Brewing Company at 607 14th Street Tuscaloosa, AL 35401. To learn more about their events, be sure to check out their Facebook page here:


Food for All By Natalie Vande Linde

30 • Honors College

So You Have a Special Diet? Tuscaloosa has its fair share of noteworthy attributes, and as those attributes continue to grow, so does the University of Alabama. Consistently, the university’s out-of-state student percentage creeps upwards. Our campus is diversifying; no longer is UA a school of primarily in-state residents. With new backgrounds and cultures comes a crossing of many other things as well, dietary needs being one of them. Various foodies from around the nation shared the best places and methods to eating your way through Tuscaloosa: vegan, vegetarian, gluten, or dairy-free style.

vegan & vegetarian Sophomore Julia Alaimo from Detroit is a vegan of almost two years. When asked to list a few of her favorite restaurants within Tuscaloosa, she quickly rattled off a lengthy list. Finding food as a vegan in Tuscaloosa is not seriously difficult for Alaimo, nor does it keep her from eating out with friends. The initial adjustment period was tricky for her, but she soon found vegan options in almost any place she went. “I could find something pretty much anywhere,” Alaimo said. A veggie burger at the infamous Strip take-out restaurant Quick Grill, vegan ice cream at the liquid nitrogen creamery Frostbite, or even falafel at the alltime Tuscaloosa favorite Glorybound—Alaimo’s options are far more broad than non-vegans realize. “Asian or Thai food,” Alaimo said about her favorite places. “They usually have tofu so I can easily get my protein in and I can always count on a rice or noodle dish. That’s the easiest.” On campus, Alaimo raved of the accomodations in the dining hall, how willing they were to help when she asked, and how vegan and vegetarian options were slowly but surely popping up on the normal menus. “Since I’ve started going to school here, Tuscaloosa has definitely moved in a more restrictive diet friendly direction,” Alaimo said.

Gluten - Free & Dairy - Free Peyton Badura, a sophomore from Richmond, Virginia, follows a diet that requires cutting out several things, including many people’s favorites: gluten and dairy. Badura mentioned with hope that the number of gluten friendly menus in Tuscaloosa were “on the up” day after day. She agreed that food here was different, and sometimes more difficult to find than in the North, but that she always has plenty of options. “No, I actually had way too much to eat,” said Badura, adding that on-campus gluten and dairy- free options were endless. “People need to know about this new Lakeside: it has everything.” She claims that the new Lakeside Dining Hall’s gluten-free area was “a gluten-free, dairy-free heaven.” And although Badura did share that she chooses not to eat out much, she guaranteed that when she does, she has options. Some of her favorites are quick and easy restaurants like Chipotle, were she can get a chicken and rice bowl, or Pyro’s, where she can have a gluten-free personal pizza prepared for her complete with dairy-free cheese, which is often hard to come by. “I usually can’t even find a dairy-free and gluten-free pizza in stores. So Pyro’s is a definite go-to for me,” Badura said.

“With new backgrounds and cultures comes a crossing of many other things as well, dietary needs being one of them.” Restaurants like these, and others Badura mentioned, are ideal for her allergy and are knowledgeable enough to avoid cross contamination of her food. However, Badura did mention that she’s not really one to eat out much due to worries of cross contamination, but she has had no problem whatsoever stacking her pantry with gluten-free grocery finds from Tuscaloosa’s Publix.

The University of Alabama • 31

Photos by Kayla Duffy

Carb - free Emma Brown, a sophomore from Houston, is carb-free for medical reasons. However, this is a diet choice that is common among the university’s students, and one that has more options available than many may realize. Brown mentioned that she can order off of any menu, as this is not a cross-contamination sensitive restriction like gluten, and almost any menu item can be tweaked to be carb-free. However, Brown’s favorite dishes are at restaurants where she doesn’t have to work to create her own dish; instead, a carb-free one is already on the menu. Brown’s go-to is Chicken Salad Chick, where she can get a combo of chicken salad and a soup, free of carbs. Another favorite is Real and Rosemary, a more upscale restaurant option that has a healthy, clearly labeled menu for dieters and those with allergies.

32 • Honors College

All three foodies emphasized one thing: do not be afraid to ask. Alaimo, Badura, and Brown all mentioned that they could almost always find something on a menu in Tuscaloosa. Sometimes it takes asking a question. Some menus may or may not be labeled clearly, sometimes food locations may be on or off-campus— but none of them struggle to find food or eat less than normal. Coming to a new state can be intimidating, especially to such a large campus with so many unfamiliar places. However, Tuscaloosa offers a surprising amount of diet friendly options. Both new and old eateries are revamping their menus and methods to better serve those with dietary restrictions, celebrating a more diverse demographic and bringing southern hospitality to the table.

Local Choices Check out these restaurants around Tuscaloosa for some diet-friendly options:

Frutta Bowls - Gluten-Free Real & Rosemary - Vegetarian, Gluten-Free Lakeside Dining Hall - Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten-Free, Carb-Free Glorybound - Vegan, Vegetarian Pyro’s - Vegan, Vegetarian, DairyFree, Gluten-Free

Designed by Carlee Cousineau The University of Alabama • 33



34 34 •• Honors Honors College College


Many have a moment in their childhood where they

Rogers pointed out that these libraries eliminate things

fell in love with reading, where a book enchanted them

a kid might normally need to get access to new books,

and pulled them in completely. For many, it’s one specific

like a library card or even a ride to the library in the first

book or even a string of words that changed the way they

place. Instead, they can grab a new book on their way out

viewed reading.

of school or even at the park. In short, these miniature

Students in the Honors College partnered with the Literacy Council of West Alabama in spring of 2018 and

libraries offer kids “less reasons not to read, and more reasons to read,” Rogers said.

began working to create this feeling in children across

Reading can grow a student and a person in many

Tuscaloosa in the following fall semester. They hope

ways. That’s part of why the Literacy Council of West

to cultivate this love for reading in elementary school

Alabama came to the Honors College in search of people

children with their innovative, reimagined version of a

to work with: they knew that there were individuals in

newspaper stand-turned-library. A group of volunteer

the Honors College who could help make this project a

students took four old newspaper stands from around

reality. Growing literacy in children does so much more

Tuscaloosa and, with a little bit of labor and a lot of

than simply increase literacy, it educates and improves

inspiration, turned them into miniature, portable

their learning skills in many ways.

libraries. The idea behind the stands was to grab the attention of

“It’s not just a love of reading, but a love of learning,” Rogers said.

younger children in an effort to develop a love for reading

Hannah Deese, an Honors College student who

and increase literacy rates at a younger age. The boxes are

volunteered on the project, had a similar viewpoint on

painted a bright, playful blue and filled with books that

the goals of the miniature libraries but with a unique

the kids can grab on the go and read at home, or wherever

perspective. Deese’s mom was an elementary school

they choose to. Ben Rogers, a leader in the project, said

teacher growing up, and without her, Deese shared that

that the hope is that young kids will leave school, notice the

her love for reading would be very different—or possibly

boxes, and be filled with enough curiosity to look inside

not there at all.

and take a book. The idea creates more opportunities for

“In the summers, she would make us do summer

a connection to be formed between children and reading.

reading projects, and at the time I hated them. But it

The University of Alabama • 35

fostered a love for reading within me,” Deese said.

adulthood with the lowest level of literacy proficiency,

For Deese, reading more as a child changed her

43 percent live in poverty.” In a striking contrast, only

whole perspective on books, and these libraries have

4 percent of those with strong literacy skills live in

the potential to do just that for many children in the

poverty. Many don’t realize how startling these statistics

Tuscaloosa area.

are because they have been surrounded by books from

Having access to books, however, is not always a

childhood on. Deese shared that her situation was similar.

given, especially to many children in Tuscaloosa and

“I did a privilege walk,” Deese said. “You all line up,

surrounding areas. Organizations like Al’s Pals work

and someone reads out statements, and if they pertain

with children from around Tuscaloosa, and Deese is a

to you, you step forwards or backwards. One of the

volunteer there as well. Al’s Pals showed Deese in some

statements was, ‘Step forward if you grew up with more

ways that kids in this area can have less access to books

than 100 books in your home.’ I never thought of that as

and unlimited reading than many might realize.

a privilege before.”

“Sometimes, you can see kids that are underserved.

Books are scattered everywhere in many people’s

They don’t have the literacy that they should at the age

houses growing up, but many children don’t have that

that they are,” Deese said.

experience, and that can affect their life as their learning

Having a proficient literacy level and a childhood full

skills grow and develop. Fortunately, volunteers and

of books can be more influential than people recognize,

organizations like The Literacy Council of West Alabama

affecting many aspects of life. In fact, an article from the

are pushing miniature libraries like these out into the

Children’s Literacy Foundation, states that “one in six

world. The hope behind the converted newspaper stands

children who are not reading proficiently at a third grade

is that it will grab children’s attention, pull them in,

level do not graduate from high school on time.” But the

and leave them with a love for reading that keeps them

effects of reading can extend even beyond graduation.

coming back.

The article goes on to note that, “among those who reach

36 • Honors College

The University of Alabama • 37

More Than Just

One of Elysia Cardenas’ dancers performing her Spring 2019 piece, Adapt

38 • Honors College

Designed by Calvin Madison // Written by Susanna dunn


Designed by Calvin Madison // Written by Susanna dunn

Yes, many students have heard of the dance department here at UA. Some may even know a couple of dance majors from a student organization or one of their classes. Yet, most of this campus probably doesn’t know what really goes on behind the massive red curtains in Morgan Hall or in the third floor studio of Clark Hall. There’s a slim chance that the average student knows about the two dance studios hidden just a floor above the Fresh Foods dining hall. While these may just seem like average class buildings, many dance majors spend endless hours in these spaces during the academic year, physicalizing their visions and preparing for their original work to be performed on stage Dance Alabama! is a studentled organization in which students choreograph, cast, and, if their dance

Many dancers performing Morgan Moore’s Spring 2019 piece, Mot de Code

is chosen by the UA Theatre and Dance faculty, perform in a final five-day series of shows. Open auditions are first held in Clark Hall, a building many dancers have deemed “UA’s Dance Castle,” and student choreographers select which dancers would fit best for their individual piece, taking into account musicality, Many Dancers using props in Morgan Moore’s style, technique and Spring 2019 piece, Mot de Code many other elements. Choreographers across the state and spread their love of then rehearse with their casts, working towards approval from UA Dance faculty dance to different communities including elementary and middle schools. Although on their works-in-progress. Some dance majors have been involved rehearsal times can be strenuous, with DA! every semester of their college especially with the numerous technical career, including runs and dress rehearsals leading up to Honors student Skylar the performances, Thompson said she “wouldn’t trade any of it for the world.” Thompson. To give a taste of what DA! involved Thompson is a this semester, student choreographer perfect example of how and senior dance major Kryssalyn Bayne DA! has created many described what the choreographic process positive opportunities looked like for her own original piece. for dancers and “My goal for every piece that I choreographers. She choreograph is for the choreography to has been involved be visually appealing to the regular eye in not only the DA! so that the audience is truly entertained shows but also the from the moment we step on stage until DA! tour, which takes our final movement,” Bayne said. place every semester Bayne’s piece also involved the use of as a group of dancers silhouette lighting for multiple sections, and faculty travel

The University of Alabama • 39

Dancers performing Kryssalyn Bayne’s Spring 2019 piece, It; notice Bayne’s use of multicolored lighting, fog, and silhoutette lighting for visual effects

adding to her already visually appealing choreography consisting of long body lines and unconventional staging. Not all pieces in DA! stick to these same stylistic elements, however. “Being student-led, the choreographic styles are completely up to the students. That being said, depending on what a particular choreographer prefers, you might see anything from jazz, to hip hop, to classical ballet in a DA! performance,” said Thompson. “I think it’s a rare and special opportunity to have a concert with so much variation, especially on the college level.” The choreographers for the spring 2019 show presented a variety of musical choices, ranging from popular songs that may play on the radio to more instrumental musical scores. As well as choosing a musical piece, choreographers are in charge of costuming for each dance

and finding unique attire that fits the mood of the performance. In addition, choreographers have freedom to set their desired stage lighting and visual effects using various colors, strobe settings, and even props and fog machines. “What makes DA! special is that it is an opportunity for students to freely create works they feel passionately about, and it allows students to show their own

Dancers performing Elysia Cardenas’ Spring 2019 piece, Adapt

40 • Honors College 40 • Honors College

choreographic voice,” said Emilia Stuart, a dance major and Honors student who has been involved in DA! for four semesters in a row. Stuart is a double major in dance and exercise science with a minor in nutrition, so her daily schedule is busier than most. Though participation in DA! definitely requires mental and physical commitment from all dancers, Stuart said, “It doesn’t impede my ability to be a student.” In addition to raising money, which helps fund the dance program’s equipment and costuming needs, DA! show week often brings in various audience members from across the country. This can bring exposure for individual dancers and aspiring choreographers who are working towards making a name for themselves, a huge motivator for many UA dance majors to participate in DA!. However, Dance Alabama! can also be simply a

form of recreation for many dancers and choreographers. Since the DA! dancers are not required to be dance majors, there is also a pressure-free side to the shows. “Supporting the arts is extremely important!” Stuart said. “Although dance is not everyone’s medium, it is a beautiful example of how messages in dance can be both accessible and important.” Expression through movement is unique to each and every choreographer. One choreographer’s vision may be drastically different from another, and that is what makes performances like DA! so significant to those who use choreography as a key channel of expression. Since each semester’s shows include a fresh cast, new costumes, different music, and contemporary choreography, anyone in attendance is guaranteed an innovative experience filled with originality and creativity right from the seats of Morgan Auditorium.

Above and below: ancers performing Elysia Cardenas’ Spring 2019 piece, Adapt

The University of Alabama • 41 The University of Alabama • 41

STORIES & IDENTITIES From the desk of Anne Franklin Lamar, Ph.D., faculty UA Honors College

We are continuously called to answer these questions, and we often edit and revise our answers to fit the moment at hand, the audience before us, and the life we’ve lived. Social reformer and abolitionist Frederick Douglass wrote three personal narratives over the course of his adult life, each a different take on the answer to these questions and each a gripping and horrific testimony to the life of a formerly enslaved person. In the first of these three, Douglass writes himself into existence first and foremost as a native-born son of America. He writes, “I was born in Tuckahoe, near Hillsborough, and about twelve miles from Easton, in Talbot County, Maryland.” This simple statement of geographical origin claimed what should have been Douglass’ birthright and called forth the hypocrisy of slavery and the founding principles of America. His answer meant much more than the location of his birth. For Honors students at UA, reading the narratives of formerly enslaved people and other marginalized Americans gives a more complex and necessary shape to how they think about familiar and fraught concepts like the American Dream, and these stories inform much more than their academic pursuits. I challenge my students to discover and study unfamiliar narratives and ask new and difficult questions of familiar narratives. We also ask these questions of each other and our communities and weave together narratives that give our lives texture. These narratives have the power to change how we see the world and our role in it, and in an Honors interdisciplinary seminar, we are working together to create a space for questions, critical thought, and creativity that continue you on far past the classroom. The first semester I taught in the Honors College, I was finishing my dissertation and deeply immersed in a diary written over 150 years ago. I knew I wanted to connect students to the texts that women create in

42 • Honors College

their daily lives, but I wasn’t sure how the depths of my graduate work would translate to an interdisciplinary undergraduate course. So, instead of beginning our class with diaries, I reached back to some of my earliest memories of women creating and started with quilts. These tactile, utilitarian works of art tell the story of effort, care, and creativity. Theirs is a visual narrative. In my women’s text class, we study the stories women tell about their own identities and communities through everyday art. Whether it is a quilt, a cookbook, or a diary, these texts help us recover and understand the stories of women and their everyday lives, and these stories teach us about our own lives and creative pursuits. We answer origin questions so frequently in our lives that it is not often that we stop and reflect on how the stories we hear and tell others shape how we see ourselves and the world around us, but the power of diving deeply into narratives is that a good story challenges us to stop and think and see the world anew even in the slightest way. That change in perspective or nagging question creates an ethic by which to live and call— to listen attentively and see each person’s story as a unique and valuable part of the whole. No matter the topic, I root each of my classes in the belief that stories have the power to change how we see the world and ourselves. Stories humanize the world around us because we are called to empathy. Oral histories affirm the everyday person’s story and broaden our concepts of history. Identity narratives resonate with college students because college is a time when students challenge, create, and explore their answers to these foundational questions. Being immersed in others’ stories of identity helps students learn to practice empathy, to be vulnerable, and to embrace critically creative thinking in an academic setting.

Deisgned by: Arianna Elkins

Who are you? What is your story?


Written by Sara Beth Bolin Photography by Hudson Nuckolls

Deisgned by: Arianna Elkins

It’s 2 a.m., and Reese Phifer Hall is silent. The halls are empty and the lights are off, any previous trace of students erased from existence. That is, except in room 332, where lines of beautiful writing, out-of-the-box designs and bellyaching laughter erupt from the students on the other side of the door. These students are part of Minerva, a highly-selective creative portfolio program housed inside UA’s department of advertising and public relations. The two-year undergraduate concentration focuses on building a portfolio filled with original advertising campaigns for major companies, products and services. The campaigns serve as practice for what they hope to do in the real world: create stand-out advertisements that catch your eye and draw you in. Professor Mark Barry, head of the program, says that he strives to help his team of creatives compete for jobs in top-tier agencies while allowing them to enjoy their undergraduate careers.

The University of Alabama • 43

week, she was offered a summer internship with ad agency MullenLowe. Here, she and fellow Minerva copywriter and Honors student MK Holladay worked with a team to develop several campaigns, including the now-viral “Fearful Girl.” “Minerva, more than anything, teaches us how to have big ideas or concepts,” Earman said. “We showed up at our internship this summer, and just started like working on projects with people and growing at ideas. And they were just surprised at how well we knew how to do that already.” Barry explained that, unlike other portfolio programs that focus on students independently creating their campaigns, Minerva emphasizes teamwork and collaboration over selfsustained work. By doing this, Minerva students are more prepared for life in top-tier advertising agencies. “That’s why teamwork is important,” Barry said. “If you’re working by yourself, you’ve got one brain. If you’re working with two people, you don’t have two brains— you’ve got much more. It’s not one plus one equals two. During the creative process, math doesn’t work. So it’s one plus one equals six.” Earman emphasized that this, along with the concepting and execution skills she learned during her time in the program, prepared her in more ways than she could have imagined for life as an art director. “It’s the best choice I made in college,” Earman said. “It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I’m only as successful

44 • Honors College

as I am through Minerva, because I work really hard and I just dedicated everything to it, and it paid off.” Applications for Minerva are released every spring semester. Barry, Suarez and Earman encourage everyone interested to apply, but be prepared for a challenge. Minerva will also be starting a graduate program to help those who want to gain leadership experience and build a portfolio. For more information about Minerva, visit, and follow them on Instagram (@uaminerva).

“It’s the best choice I made in college. It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”

“In advertising, the traditional route for the last 40 years has been go to undergrad, and then go to portfolio school and drop another 40 grand for two years and work on just your portfolio,” Barry said. “We’re trying to compete with that in a two-year program. And the challenge that we’re faced with is our students are also in history, english, math and science classes. So they’re not able to just lock themselves in a room and only work on their advertising portfolio for two years; they have all these other things. The benefit of that is that our students have a wider picture of the world.” Minerva isn’t for the faint of heart: students spend dozens of hours a semester pouring over concepts, rewriting commercial scripts, and creating physical campaigns to put in their book at the end of the semester. Because of this, Barry selects the most creative minds on campus to participate with a unique application unlike any other, making sure that students are prepared— both technically and mentally— for the challenge. “It’s a really interesting application process,” Nessa Suarez, current Minerva president and Honors student, said. “There’s one main question and you answer it in any way that you can. Ours was ‘what’s the point?’”

display in a public place. Minerva students have produced a variety of campaigns to fill their portfolios, such as personality profiles for Pringles, nostalgic commercial spots for Stewarts Orignal Fountain Classics, and a social justice campaign for WD-40. Through the next three semesters, art directors and copywriters work on campaigns for their portfolios, some of which have won awards on every level. In 2018, Minerva campaigns received 28 ADDY awards from local, district and national competitions. The awards, held by the American Advertising Federation, received more than 35,000 entries last year alone, making Minerva’s strong showing one of the best in the nation. These awards are great for both morale and job searches. Earman won a Young Ones One Club Award of Merit at last year’s One Show Awards, an internationally-recognized competition in advertising, design, interactive and branded entertainment held by The One Club for Creativity in New York. During the portfolio review section of the awards

After students are admitted, they participate in a concepting class, where they begin to build their portfolios and gain insight into which side of creative advertising best suits their skills and interests. Copywriters, like Suarez, write every word that goes into an advertisement: scripts, radio spots, taglines, and even tweets. On the other side, art directors, such as Honors student Emeline Earman, execute campaigns and create visuals for commercials, print ads, and other various media. While both help conceptualize what the ad will become, each plays a different, but equally important, role in making the concept a reality. Each campaign is different. The target audience and method of execution differ depending on the product or service, and can range from a well-written radio spot to an interactive

The University of Alabama • 45


46 • Honors College

Much of Southern California had been experiencing a substantial drought since December 2011. With the coming of longawaited storms, the drought was declared over on March 5, 2019—just in time for spring break. San Diego County’s Anza Borrego Desert, along with many other deserts and state parks throughout the region, witnessed a “super bloom” of wildflowers that had laid dormant for the better half of a decade. The University of Alabama • 47

get a taste of the world

48 • Honors College

photos by abbi white design by kara adams

te ms

International eats of Tuscaloosa by: kenny quayle

The University of Alabama • 49


Sitar Indian Cuisine

Tucked away in a plaza just off 15th Street, a small and unassuming restaurant serves up delicacies that are entirely uncommon in this part of the country. Their typical fare sticks out like a sore thumb among the droves of fast food places and local BBQ joints, and offers a popular metropolitan cuisine that many out-of-state students hold dear. Sitar is the only place in town offering delicious, homemade Indian cuisine. Their menu features traditional entrees, desserts, and multiple kinds of curry with various meats and levels of spice over classic long-grain white rice. When it comes to entrees, the meats used are delicious and high quality with traditional flavorings and preparations. A perfect supplement to this meal is the fresh baked naan, used to sop up the leftover curry or wrap around rice. This, along with a traditional yogurt drink, Lassi, is meant to counteract the spices in the curry.


Antojitos Iztical

There are many quiet, hidden gems among the restaurant scene in Tuscaloosa, but none are as highly rated and truly beloved as Antojitos Izcalli. The small restaurant sandwiched between a market and an African hair braiding studio, part of a plaza behind a gas station, is usually filled with equal parts locals and college students chowing down on one of their many delicious dishes. They offer each of their delicious tacos for $2.50 on a traditional corn tortilla, and the selection of meats is more traditional than any other in the area, as they offer not only flavorful al pastor but chicken, chorizo, barbacoa, cow tongue, and even head meat. These meats can also be put in burritos, quesadillas, or any other dishes on the menu. Mexican food is, in general, a widely made cuisine with exceeding variation all over the world. However, Mexican food in its purest form is truly unbeatable. That is exactly what Antojitos is offering: no frills, simple Mexican food that cannot be beat in price or flavor.



Any good meal at Sitar begins with their amazing keema samosas, light and flaky pastry shells filled with minced meat, peas, and potatoes and served with sweet and spicy chili sauces.

From the quesadillas made with fresh queso blanco to the cheap street tacos students purchase by the dozens, all of the dishes at Antojitos’ are traditional, flavorful, fresh, and made with care and love.

50 • Honors College


DePalma’s is an Italian restaurant that has become a formal dining staple to Tuscaloosa natives and students alike. For 20 years, they have served traditional Italian food, like made-from-scratch pasta, fresh vegetables and sauces. Frequent patrons always look forward to their white chocolate bread pudding and its sweet, rich, warm, soul-filling goodness. Once you’re seated and in mid-anticipation, there’s always the satisfaction of the aroma of freshly tossed dough, and, if you are in the right place, you can watch the kitchen practice their craft. The pizza on offer is baked in a traditional crust and is coated with a robust sauce, fresh cheese, and any number of delectable and widely varied toppings.


Ruan Thai

A quaint site at the end of The Strip, this restaurant is located in a converted, eclectic old house, with the rooms remodeled and rearranged into dining rooms usually filled with more adventurous college students. Established in 1991, Ruan Thai was the first Thai restaurant in Tuscaloosa, and has held its own ever since. It’s flavorful and healthy, with food consisting largely of fish, shrimp, chicken, noodles, vegetables, and a specifically Thai form of curry that is a more soupy concoction with coconut milk served over rice. Each dish is served with fresh peppers and herbs straight from the owner’s garden. Their daily curry specials offer a wide variety of meals for reasonable prices, and the unique flavors are enough to draw in new customers and decades-old regulars. One dish that has an amazing presentation along with its rich, almost creamy flavor is the pineapple curry. It is pineapple curry over rice with shrimp, pineapple chunks, tomato, and red bell peppers served in a hollowed-out half pineapple. For a sweet beverage to go with your meal, try one of the restaurant’s specialty juices.

Bread Pudding The Italian eatery is known for its generous portions, traditional Italian dishes, and a specialty dessert beloved by all patrons, their white chocolate bread pudding, a lovingly baked bread pudding coated in a white chocolate sauce.

Lychee Juice Ruan Thai offers juices that are not commonly found in the South, such as the sweet and refreshing lychee juice that is a favorite of many customers.

The University of Alabama • 51

MR. CHEN’S Chinese

Few restaurants are as storied and integral to a community as Mr. Chen’s is to Tuscaloosa. The restaurant and market combination has become a bastion for many students, whether American students trying their hand at a new recipe or exchange students looking for a taste of home. The market provides customers with the necessary ingredients to cook the dishes they grew up with and provides unique and rare ingredients to student chefs and gourmands to use in various dishes. The attached restaurant provides dishes from all over Asia and the unique flavors that come with them. From the spicy cashew chicken in black bean sauce to the unique daily specials, the flavors of multiple Asian cultures are represented well at Mr. Chen’s. Hot pot, a Mr. Chen’s specialty, fits well in any college town populated by students who like to make their meal their way. Any student who has never experienced this method of tableside cooking would be delighted by the flavors and delicious meats offered by Mr. Chen’s hot pots.

PHO TOWN Vietnamese

Although Vietnamese food has been a delicacy in the United States for decades, new restaurants serving bahn mi sandwiches, pan fried noodles and other widely varied and uniquely flavored dishes have been popping up everywhere from California to Florida. Tuscaloosa has its very own mom-and-pop Vietnamese restaurant serving up the most authentic forms of Vietnamese food. Located in Midtown, Pho Town is a favorite of UA students who miss the hip cuisine scenes of their hometowns. They make fantastic sandwiches, delicious and refreshing boba teas, and rich, wholesome pho that can heal a sick body and soul. The beef- based broth is filling and refreshing, doing everything it should to warm a cold body. The boba teas, although far less traditional, come in fun and popular varieties. From traditional milk teas to exotic strawberry slushies with pineapple boba, Pho Town has enough variety in their boba selection to satisfy any student’s sweet tooth and refresh them on a hot day.

Hot Pot


The hot pot is the most interesting to many, a boiling hot broth served on a burner tableside that is accompanied by various veggies and meats that you cook yourself to perfection.

The pho is generously portioned, and best eaten with fresh lime, bean sprouts, a variety of herbs, fish sauce, generous helping of sriracha hot sauce, and slurped down eagerly with chopsticks and a broth spoon.

52 • Honors College



Another staple of the ethnic cuisine available in the midtown area of Tuscaloosa, Taziki’s is a modern Greek restaurant with traditional offerings, delicious lamb, and a pleasant ambience. They create gyros, delightful spanakopita, and other delicious Greek and Mediterranean meals for reasonable prices in a relaxed casual setting. Their flavorful preparation and quick service make this restaurant a perfect stop for the on-the-go college student looking for a delicious and somewhat-healthy option for lunch. College students, out-of-state visitors and families with picky eaters alike will find eclectic options to fit every diet. The eatery offers daily specials including a Mediterranean twist on Taco Thursday and spanakopita, a Greek spinach pie, every Wednesday night. With its never-ending menu and outstanding customer service, Taziki’s can’t be beat.

Gyro Taziki’s is known for its hand-crafted gyros. Patrons can get everything from lamb to Greek salad to beef (seen here) wrapped in a pocket of bread and drizzled in the restaurant’s house-made Taziki sauce.

301 BISTRO German

Tuscaloosa’s take on the German concept of biergartens can be found in the train-station-turned-classyGerman-restaurant, 301 Bistro, Bar, and Beer Garden. Located in the bustling downtown area, the restaurant brings traditional German cuisine with rich and homemade flavors to an interesting dining atmosphere. These delicious traditional flavors are bolstered by other menu choices such as the blackened chicken and the herb roasted duck. The meals alone are a fantastic draw to 301, but the elements that truly seal the deal on making the bistro a date night favorite of many students, locals, and even visiting parents are the outdoor beer garden and the upscale cocktail bar. During the summer, the beer garden is a fantastic place to enjoy an afternoon of drink and food with friends. It is truly the total package for customers of all ages and is definitely worth it to splurge on a delicious meal and a fantastic experience.

Bratwurst They offer various authentic dishes, such as wiener schnitzel and a homemade sausage board containing bratwurst, weisswurst, and nurnberger sausages, along with delectable toasts and mustards.

The University of Alabama • 53


Elementary Honors students encourage literacy, one page at a time. By Justin Levy

Chase Sieradski sat down at his table, clasping a book and some crayons and waiting patiently for the kids to enter the classroom. On this crisp fall afternoon, Sieradski had been attending Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School’s second grade reading class for four weeks, getting to know his student, a rambunctious kid who liked drawing. As the kids came into the classroom and settled in, Sieradski patiently focused his student’s attention on the book of the week, “Fly Guy” by Tedd Arnold. It was in reading that his mentee asked a question and Sieradski saw the first spark of interest, a glimmering moment where Sieradski could appreciate the impact that his service could have

Photos by Sean Keenan 54 • Honors College 54 • Honors College

in the life of another. Meanwhile, Adam Sherwood-McGrew, a senior marketing major aspiring to be a teacher, prepared to give a presentation to his classmates on campus about his reading life, where he would talk about his passion for reading everything from periodicals to novels—but especially fiction. A self-described Hemingway fan, Sherwood-McGrew talked about “The Sun Also Rises”, one of Hemingway’s greatest novels that he was reading at the time. Both Sieradski and Sherwood-McGrew, members of the Honors College Elementary Reading class under the direction of Andrea Poole, shared a love of reading that they wanted to pass along to others. But the two had different paths to the same class focusing on child literacy. Sieradski, a computer science major, grew up the oldest of his family with multiple younger cousins in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. His love of children and their fun spirit led him to enroll in a class designed to mentor children in need of help in the classroom, especially in reading. Upon entering the class, he found that he could help kids and have fun at the same time. Sherwood-McGrew’s passion for literacy inspired him to work with kids. He found the most enjoyment when standing in front of a group of children in the second-grade class and reading to them. “I enjoyed engaging the students in discussion and comprehension of what was read, and afterwards seeing them get excited about telling different aspects of the story,” he said. It is in these ideas of helping children through education and mentoring that Poole, a graduate of the university and director of the class for the past five years, has dedicated her life. As both a private and public school teacher, Poole saw the impact that education has in the lives of children, especially those who contend with a difficult familial or financial situation. “Through my years, I’ve seen children struggle and fall behind in primarily reading,” Poole said, adding that the efforts of her students not only help in reading but also in “having a good role model and friend, in having a conversation.”

Poole focuses her efforts on helping children comprehend literature and discover a passion for reading, and her class delves into the factors that affect children’s literacy. Students in the class research these influences, such as public school funding, wealth inequality, and food insecurity, to get a better understanding of the problems facing disadvantaged kids across Alabama and the nation. UH 105 Elementary Reading consists of a lecture section and service section. The lecture features presentations by each of the college students to describe reading in their lives. The service portion meets at both Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary in Tuscaloosa, and Francis Marion School in Perry County. Mentors in the class read to their second-grade mentee, who then manipulates the story by retelling it, continuing the story, or participating in an activity such as drawing the story. A common theme from both Poole and her students is the rewarding nature of the class. The program has changed the lives of those involved, both mentor and mentee. “It’s made me more patient,” Sieradski said. SherwoodMcGrew commented that the class “has made me more aware of why it is important to instill excitement and interest in reading at an early age because it’s so crucial, not only in elementary school to succeed in other subject areas, but also throughout a kid’s academic career.” The epigraph to “The Sun Also Rises” quotes Ecclesiastes: “One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh; but the earth abideth forever.” Hemingway’s novel, behind the despair of life after World War I, gave hope to a boundless optimism for the

next generation. In a way, behind the poor conditions that some students in America face, there is the hope that by teaching both elementary and college students the fundamentals of education and the joys of reading, we ensure that future generations can grow and prosper. The students of Elementary Reading serve to build that future, one kid at a time, one question at a time, with a book and a handful of crayons.

Designed by Carlee Cousineau The University of Alabama • 55 The University of Alabama • 55

g n i k a T

UA to SPACE How Project ARES is launching the University of Alabama to the forefront of collegiate rocketry

Written by Zachary Stewart Design by Chris Jarmon Photography by Greg Liesen 56 • Honors College

The University of Alabama • 57


he University of Alabama is going to space—at least, that’s part of the Project ARES’ mission. ARES, which is an acronym for Alabama Rocket Engineering Systems, is composed of underclassmen students that design and build rockets for competitions and research. It’s also a great opportunity for those interested in STEM subjects to develop their skills with real-world application. The club is divided into three teams: liquid propulsion, solid propulsion, and those that handle the business aspects of the program. It’s important to note that membership isn’t restricted to engineering or physics majors; any undergraduate student at UA can join. Currently, the liquid propulsion team is competing in a three-year competition called The Base 11 Space Challenge that promises $1 million to the first university that can launch a single-stage rocket to 100 kilometers (that’s where suborbital space begins). This is the first year of the competition, so the team’s primary focus is the design and manufacturing of the vehicle and its propulsion system. By the end of 2019, they plan to begin testing. The solid propulsion team, which competes in the IREC (Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition), is innovating to create designs that will allow for stage separation. For those unfamiliar with rocketry, it means that the vehicle will have multiple engines, each optimized for a different mass. This team will travel to White Sands, New Mexico to perform an exhibition launch, where they plan to reach 100,000 feet.

58 • Honors College 58 • Honors College

For Sean Tibbetts, the propulsion leader on the solid propulsion team, the most rewarding aspect of the program is the learning experience and getting to see its resulting product. “I enjoy the design portion. Project ARES was created to give Aerospace Engineering students something practical, as other departments have clubs like the Eco-Car and the F1 Team,” Tibbetts said. “Before, we could design rockets on paper, but we didn’t know if they would work. Now, we’re seeing a byproduct of our creations, which is really exciting.” While the results of these projects are incredible, they don’t come without significant challenges. To Tibbetts, this helps to make the experience all the more special. “Learning to predict problems has been a crucial aspect because rockets are full of problems and you never know what’s going to happen,” he said. As one could imagine, the problems that arise are often much more complex than what you’d approach in your first physics class. “Many of the assumptions you worked with in engineering class are completely out of the window,” said Chase Trautman, project manager for the liquid propulsion team. “There are many, many factors at play. Classes teach you theory and equations, but if you don’t know how to apply them, then what’s the point?” Even if a student doesn’t plan to work for NASA or SpaceX

that Snowhill Engineering of Ozark, Alabama, “was kind enough to deliver a custom-made hydrostatic test stand, which enabled us to perform the test. This was a serious milestone for us in a very long process.” It’s easy to see why local engineering and manufacturing companies are so supportive of ARES’ work. It’s student-led organizations like this that prepare students to be successful in the workforce through experiences that can’t be had in a classroom. They are diligently working to take The University of Alabama to the forefront of collegiate rocketry, while creating products that operate at the industry standard. in the future, the skills that they learn in the Project ARES are beneficial in a multitude of industries. “I love rockets, but I also really enjoy building cars,” said Trautman. “There’s a lot of relevant things I’ve learned in this project that would be very applicable in a car company. As long as you’re getting hands-on experience outside the classroom, you can fly across industries. There’s a competitive job market out there — you can’t be that person who just goes to class anymore. Companies are looking for more than that right now.” Honors College student and MOSAIC Magazine Photographer Greg Liesen agrees that programs like these are beneficial. “ARES gives me the opportunity to work in a team environment, apply what I’ve learned in my classes, and gain a practical knowledge of rocketry which will be instrumental in the workplace environment,” he said. For many of their launches, the team takes trips to specialized locations where they can test their vehicles unobstructed by air traffic. Last year, the team traveled to New Mexico to do so. “I went last year because I was head of the sales team and it was a blast - I don’t mean to be making puns,” Trautman said. “We took about a 13 member team that stayed in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and we launched at Spaceport America, which was about an hour away.” Liesen’s favorite memory from the program was when the team hydro-tested a case for the solid-rocket team. He described

“Classes teach you theory and equations, but if you don’t know how to apply them, then what’s the point?” IF YOU’RE INTERESTED IN JOINING, YOU CAN CHECK OUT THEIR UASOURCE PAGE OR VISIT THEIR TABLE AT GET ON BOARD DAY.

The University of Alabama The University of Alabama • 59 • 59

Randall Research Scholars

The Randall Research Scholars Program (formerly Computer-Based Honors) is a nationally recognized undergraduate research program which pairs exceptional students directly with leading research professors and cutting-edge computing technology to complete scholarly research projects in any field of study.

Kayla Meeks

I am currently working on a project in the Geography department with Dr. Michael K. Steinberg in partnership with the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust. We have been given a collection of Belizean marine habitat maps that I am digitizing into a Geographic Information System (GIS) format so that different types of habitats, such as seagrass, rubble, patch reef, sand, and cayes, can be singled out into individual components called layers. With this information, I am able to compare data about habitat preferences of certain species of sport-fish, such as tarpon, permit, and bonefish, and report areas of critical importance to various conservation and sportfishing agencies. Currently, the only data available for these organizations are individually printed maps, hindering any sharing of information between the two. The purpose of the project is to make information about the different habitats more readily available so that it is easier to identify the areas that require higher levels of protection for sustainable population growth.

Abby Gorbett For the past three semesters, I have been working on research with Paul Drnevich and Kris Irwin in the management department. My project studies how changes in countrylevel economic, political, regulatory and cultural factors affect cross-border merger and acquisition (M&A) flows. There are two separate focuses to the project: understanding the overall effect sizes of these factors, which shows which factors are the most important factors in cross-border M&A activity and understanding how the effect sizes of these factors changed during the recovery from a financial crisis. This project allows a better understanding of what factors drive foreign direct investment, particularly how the economic and regulatory policies in a country impacts businesses and the FDI flows in and out of the country.

Ilham Ali During her time at the Capstone, Ilham Ali has participated in two academic research projects with UA faculty. In the Department of Geography, she worked in the Surface Dynamics Modeling Lab under Dr. Sagy Cohen. Her research looked at modeling and helping to predict water levels from extreme flooding. This work is contributing to greater accuracy in tracking real-time disasters and is valuable in protecting public safety. In the College of Education, Ilham also completed a research project under Dr. Bedrettin Yazan. They explored family language policy, or the ways in which languages are passed from one generation to another. This project was motivated by Ilham’s own bilingual background and upbringing. She led the project from study design to data collection and analysis. The work has now been accepted to a refereed journal and will be published in 2019. 60 • Honors College


The University of Alabama • 61

A Language of Silence Is it possible to portray characters, depict the human spectrum of emotion, create shapes and lines, challenge ideas, excite people, inspire a society - all without ever opening your mouth? Sounds impossible, right? Dispersed around this campus and around the world are people who do just that: dancers. They speak a language of silence that can be heard by anyone who chooses to listen watch. Photos by Kendra Giles

62 • Honors College

The University of Alabama • 63

64 • Honors College

64 • Honors College

Up There with the Greats By Will Raney


part from its juggernaut football program and lively social scene, The University of Alabama has made itself known as one of the premier research institutions of the Southeast. With its newly awarded designation as an R1 Doctoral University, researchers on campus have been reflecting on the road traveled to arrive at this destination and are looking ahead at what new heights await them. The honor was conferred to the university by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, a framework based largely on the number of research-based doctoral degrees an institution grants each year. PhD-granting universities can be classified as R1, R2, or R3 with the R1 label describing a “highest research activity” institution. Over the winter break, the Carnegie Classification announced that the Capstone had been moved up from its R2 designation to take the coveted title of an R1 University. In doing so, it joined the ranks of 130 other colleges and universities, among them Vanderbilt University, Dartmouth College, and the University of Chicago. Dr. Andy Billings is a professor in the Department of Journalism and Creative Media. He is also the author of over 18 books on the intersection of sports media, consumer culture, and identity. He was pleased with the R1 designation, but noted that the hard work needed to arrive at that point did not occur overnight. The infrastructure needed to shift the university from R2 to R1 was the product of careful planning, clever investments, and the expansion of graduate degree programs. “It helps to place us in the right category — not a new category, but the right category. We’ve really been functioning as an R1 for quite some time now,” said Billings. He noted that during the years where UA put much of its attention towards expanding undergraduate recruitment, the number of graduate students remained relatively constant. Now with over 33,000 undergraduates, the focus gradually moved to include graduate students again. Graduate students, who are ultimately a large part of the designations given by the Carnegie Classification, form the cornerstone of the work done at any research university. “It allows me to really focus on being a mentor to doctoral students. When they’re more likely to get a grant, they’re more likely to have better samples for their dissertation, for instance,” said Billings.

“People here seem happy, they don’t seem stressed out constantly, and yet they still strive” TheUniversity UniversityofofAlabama Alabama• •6559 The

For Billings, who is part of the College of Communication and Information Sciences, the R1 title was a proper acknowledgement of the work that had already been put in place for several years around campus. Dr. Amanda Koh, a professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, joined as a faculty member in the Fall 2018 semester, and she noted that Alabama’s unique blend of environment with valuable research was one of the driving forces behind her decision to join the faculty. “People here seem happy, they don’t seem stressed out constantly, and yet they still strive,” said Koh. Koh’s own research is on stretchable electronics, and with a graduate student and a handful of undergrads already under her tutelage, she felt a great deal of momentum carried along with the award. “That label makes us slightly more attractive, especially in recruitment and in finding research collaborators. It lets them know Alabama is really putting the pedal to the metal,” Koh noted. While the designation makes the greatest difference in the lives of professors and graduates students, it should be noted that this trickle-down honor can also impact the lives of undergraduate researchers, especially those with their eyes on a future in graduate work. Dani Noll, a junior in the Honors College

“That label makes us slightly more attractive, especially in recruitment and in finding research collaborators. It lets them know Alabama is really putting the pedal to the metal” 66 • Honors College

“There’s a lot of other work happening around campus that deserves this kind of recognition”

majoring in Chemical Engineering, said the designation was a way to draw more attention to UA’s research on the national scale. “I’m from Kentucky, and the first thing we think about Alabama is the football,” Noll said. “The football is great, but there’s a lot of other work happening around campus that deserves this kind of recognition.” Noll has not yet had the chance to present her own research in polymers, but she believes if given the chance to attend a national conference that her project would be bolstered by her association with an R1 institution. Though the title carries with it no monetary award, The University of Alabama, now an R1 Doctoral University, is constantly demonstrating its commitment to self-improvement and innovation, and it is the great work of undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty members that pushes this institution into a greater conversation. The University of Alabama • 67

33.2098° N, 87.5692° W Square Logo 68 • Honors College